Breasts and nipples come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Most of the time, your breasts develop between the ages of 8 and 14, during puberty as they develop and get bigger. Everyone’s breasts develop at a different rate and they will change throughout your life. You might start growing breasts around the same time as your relatives (like your mom or sisters) did.
Breasts can range from little to big, and it’s common for them to be different sizes. Breasts are mostly fat, so anytime you lose or gain weight, they can change. It’s also normal for them to be tender, swollen or sore around the time of your period and as they grow.
It’s common to have stretch marks on your breasts – pink, red, brown, or white lines on your skin that may be a little bit raised or bumpy. Stretch marks can happen when breasts develop all of a sudden during puberty but most stretch marks fade over time and become harder to see.
The colour of your nipples and areolas (the circular skin around your nipple) usually relate to your skin colour. It’s also totally normal to have some hairs growing around your nipples and whilst some nipples stick out like buttons, others are inverted (tucked in). Your nipples can get hard and pop out when you’re cold, nervous or if something or someone touches them.
Many people worry about the size of their breasts, but try not to worry about it. Whether yours are big or small, all sizes are normal, and a part of how your body is put together. There are no pills, creams, devices, or special exercises that can change the size of your breasts – the best thing is to try and love your body the way Allah created it.
Some people’s breasts are big enough to cause pain or chronic back problems, so they may decide to get surgery to make their breasts smaller. The intention to get breast reduction must NOT be for beautification – it must be to relieve the pain it is causing.
Be breast aware
Whatever your age, size or shape it’s important to take care of your breasts. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, so it’s important to look after your breasts by being breast aware. This means getting to know how your breasts look and feel so you know what is normal for you.
Everyone’s breasts look and feel different. It’s normal to have lumpy breasts and/or tenderness or pain around your period. It’s also common to have one breast larger than the other, or breasts that are different shapes. When checking your breasts, try to be aware of any changes that are different for you.
There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts. Try to get used to looking at and feeling your breasts regularly. You can do this in the shower, when you use body lotion, or when you get dressed. You decide what is comfortable and best for you.
Remember to check all parts of your breast, your armpits and up to your collarbone.
What to look out for:
- A change in size or shape.
- A lump or thickening that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue.
- A change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like orange skin).
- Discharge (liquid) from one or both of your nipples.
- Redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple.
- A swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.
- If your nipple becomes inverted (pulled in) or changes its position or shape.
- Constant pain in your breast or your armpit.
You know better than anyone how your breasts look and feel normally, so if you notice a change, go and see your doctor.