It’s no secret that the female body—for better or for worse—is something of a mystery to many of us. Breasts are some of the most alluring component of that mystery. There’s so much that we often leave up to chance or hearsay when trying to figure out our own bodies, and specifically our boobs. It’s time we start deciphering the fact from the fiction. We’ve lined up some of the most common conceptions (and misconceptions) and guided on you on what you should or shouldn’t believe about breasts. Consider this the ultimate booby-myth buster.
- Your breasts should be identical sizes.
DON’T BELIEVE! More than half of all women experience asymmetry in breasts. Not only can hormone changes throughout your life result in different boob shapes, but most women’s left breasts are slightly larger than the right simply due to the placement of our hearts in our chests. Not only should you believe that asymmetry in breasts is normal, but you should embrace it!
- Bras don’t prevent sagging boobs.
BELIEVE! Sagging boobs are an inevitable part of life. In fact, some research has even shown that wearing bras consistently can weaken the supportive tissues in your breasts. While bras can help lift and support your breasts, they’re not capable of physically molding them. Which is perfectly ok; the stigmas against sagging boobs and different boob shapes are overrated anyway.
- Underwire bras can cause breast cancer.
DON’T BELIEVE! This myth stems from concerns surrounding the circulation of lymph fluid in and around your breasts. However, a bra likely isn’t capable of blocking lymphatic flow, especially because said flow is directed towards the underarm, not so much the under-boob. That being said, it isn’t the worst idea to give underwire bras a break every now and then. Try a looser bralette for a more natural, relaxed fit to give your boobs a breather.
- Your breasts stop growing and changing once you’ve finished puberty.
DON’T BELIEVE! Anything from hormonal changes to weight gain can change your breasts well after your adolescent years. While puberty starts the process of breast tissue development, plenty more stages in life will likely alter the shape and size of your boobs. Different boob shapes and sizes will make their way into your life (more specifically, onto your chest) one way or another.
- Chest and upper body exercises don’t prevent sagging boobs.
BELIEVE! While a few rounds of squats can perk up your butt, no number of pushups will lift up your boobs. While certain workouts help strengthen the pectoral muscles beneath your breasts, your boobs themselves are made up of fat and tissue, not muscle. Although you may be getting the illusion of a perkier chest, different boob shapes won’t be a result of the pushups themselves. But hey, never let us dissuade you from working out that upper body! Just because working on your pecs won’t necessarily prevent sagging boobs, doesn’t mean you should neglect your chest.
- Not all breast pains mean breast cancer.
BELIEVE! From hormonal changes to too many of those pushups, there are many reasons that your breasts could feel tender or painful. Swelling of the tissue as you approach your period and tightening of the pectoral muscles behind your breasts are just a few of the ways in which breast pain can be completely normal. However, always be mindful of your body; certain kinds of pain for extensive periods of time should prompt you to consult a doctor.
- Weight gain means larger breasts.
DON’T BELIEVE! Well....sort of. The degree to which weight loss and weight gain effect your breast size differs from person to person. Different boob shapes don’t directly correlate to weight because of the varied compositions of fat versus tissue in women’s breasts. A woman with more adipose tissue in her boobs may not see any difference after significant weight loss. However, a woman with more fat in her boobs may see a whole cup-size difference!
- Breastfeeding will lead to sagging boobs.
DON’T BELIEVE! While pregnancy itself may change your breast size or shape, breastfeeding on its own does not impact the way the ladies sit. A 2008 study conclusively explained how and why pregnancy, and a number of factors during pregnancy, are to blame for “breast ptosis” (AKA sagging boobs). Breastfeeding can be a beautiful part of the post-natal experience. Don’t let sagging boobs be the thing that stops you.
- Boob supplements are probably a scam.
BELIEVE! Don’t let any other influencer, no matter how famous or bodacious, try and convince you that a pill will magically make your boobs bigger. The only natural substances capable of changing your breast size are estrogen and progesterone. However, that doesn’t mean you should start popping hormone pills just to augment your breasts. Excessive consumption of these hormones has been linked to a number of health issues, especially in postmenopausal women.
- There is no such thing as a “normal” boob shape or size.
BELIEVE! Different boob shapes, sagging boobs, asymmetry in breasts, and so many other breast adaptations are all part of one colorful, spectacular (boobtacular? Is this too much?) rainbow. Just as the journeys we face as women differ greatly, so do the shapes and experiences of our breasts, and every other beautiful body part we possess.