Menopause And Changes Affecting The Breasts

It is normal for your breasts to change before, during and after menopause and it's beneficial to be aware of the kinds of changes you can expect and what is considered normal or abnormal.

After menopause, the breasts tend to change shape and you may notice that they lose firmness and become smaller; there is also a greater risk of abnormal lumps and bumps developing in the breasts and although most of the time, these are nothing to worry about, it's always good to be breast aware and to get anything suspicious checked out.

The shape, size and appearance of your breasts change because of hormonal changes that take place in the body as you get older; a loss of oestrogen can make the skin slack and dry and the breasts may look and feel less firm and full; you may also notice that your breasts droop more and there is a larger space between them than when you were younger. Some women find that their breasts get significantly smaller after menopause, but it is possible for the breast to get bigger if you put on weight, which is a common effect of menopause.

The area of tissue around the nipple, known as the areola, tends to become smaller as you age and most women find that they don't experience tenderness in their breasts as they used to, usually in the run-up to their periods.

Breast lumps and cancer screening

Your risk of developing breast cancer increases with age and it's always beneficial to be wary of potential signs and symptoms. The main changes to look out for include abnormal lumps or swelling in the breast tissue or around the armpits, discharge from the nipples and wrinkling of the skin around the nipples. Screening is provided on the NHS for women aged between 50 and 70 years old, but if you have any of the symptoms listed above, see your GP, rather than waiting or your screening test. In most cases, breast lumps are harmless cysts, but it's always better to err on the side of caution.


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