It’s cruel that when we’re not feeling perky in ourselves our breasts follow suit.
We’re here to tell you to hold your head up high. There’s loads of us sisters experiencing the same sinking situation.
Right before we go from the perimenopause into the menopause, our oestrogen levels drop dramatically. This fall causes our reproductive systems, including our ability to produce milk, to start shutting down, and the glandular tissue in our breasts shrinks as a result.
This change, combined with depleting collagen production due to the aging process, can cause your boob to sag.
The nipples may downturn, stretch marks can appear and you might notice your girls look further apart than before. This is all very normal and a common side-effect that many women experience.
What isn’t normal is any redness, thickening of the skin, your nipples turning in or leaking discharge, changes in shape that significantly affect one side, and any lumps. Check your breasts regularly and if you notice any of these issues, speak to your doctor straight away.
This is a tough symptom to tackle and unfortunately no miracle cream is going to change your tatas back to what they were before.
However, you’re not alone in experiencing this and there are things you can do to help yourself feel better.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Changing how you feel about your boobs is hard. But being kind to yourself isn’t. Think about what you do like about your body. Have you got great legs? A perky bum? Maybe your eyes are your best feature?
And then think about its function. What amazing things has your body done and what can it still do? Has it carried your children? Taken you on some amazing adventures? Let you swim length after length or throw some serious shapes on the dancefloor?
Don’t let this symptom knock your confidence, you are so much more than a pair of boobs.
IF YOU SMOKE, STOP
Smoking can actually cause sagging breasts, as it accelerates the aging process and can actually cause women to lose their bounce long before the menopause.
It’s also generally terrible for other perimenopausal symptoms, including Burning Mouth Syndrome.
We know stopping smoking is easier said than done, but according to the NHS, you’re four times more likely to kick the habit with their help. If you live in the UK, your local GP surgery can put you in touch with your nearest Stop Smoking clinic.
TREAT YOURSELF TO SOME NEW BRAS
If your boobs have changed at the end of the perimenopause, trying to wear bras you used to fill isn’t going to do wonders for how you feel about them now.
Head out to get measured and treat yourself to some new, lovely lingerie which makes you feel great. There’s all sorts of options available, whether you want extra padding, a push-up or just something super comfortable that gives you a great shape.
WORKOUT YOUR CHEST
Your boobs don’t contain muscle, but your chest underneath them does. By focusing on some upper-body weightlifting that targets the pecs, you may find you’re able to give yourself a natural lift without going under the knife.
Don’t worry, you won’t end up looking like Arnie (unless you’re going to commit to the gym for about six hours a day and mainline protein shakes).
Find a local or online personal trainer who can pull together a tailored workout programme. By doing this kind of exercise, you’ll also be helping to banish excess weight, protect your joints and ward off osteoporosis.
DON’T CRASH DIET OR LOSE WEIGHT RAPIDLY
It’s really easy when we dislike one thing about ourselves to decide our whole body is wrong in some way. That’s when we’re more likely to fall into the trap of fad diets.
Crash dieting of any kind isn’t going to help you lose weight in the long run, and certainly isn’t going to improve how your boobs look. In fact, losing weight rapidly can actually make breast sagginess worse.
The skin doesn’t have time to respond with quick weight loss and can end up looking baggy. Slow, steady weight loss at the rate of one or two pounds a week is easier to maintain and much better for your body. Now let’s go back to our first point...
IF YOU’RE STILL SERIOUSLY UNHAPPY…
The only real silver bullet for this symptom is plastic surgery, but that comes with risks (and a cost) of its own.
Mastopexy, more commonly known as a breast lift, involves the removal of excess skin and having the soft breast tissue reshaped to raise your girls back up.
If you are considering going under the knife, make sure you go to a reputable clinic and have a consultation with your surgeon ahead of making a decision. We recommend you read this guide from the NHS on choosing a practitioner.
HINTS AND TIPS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO SUPPORT SOMEONE THEY THINK MAY BE ENTERING OR IN MENOPAUSE
You might be at a loss as to what you can do if they are upset with menopausal changes to their body. Don’t let them face it alone, use some of these steps to help them accept and love themselves again.
OUR ADVICE TO THEM
We've suggested they treat themselves to some new bras to help them feel confident again and focuses on the bits of themselves they love.
They should avoid any kind of crash diet as this may make their breasts sag more.
The only bulls-eye treatment for this symptom is cosmetic surgery – if this is a route they are considering, it’s important they take their time investigating and choosing a trusted surgeon.
LET THEM KNOW YOU CARE
Knowing we’re loved, appreciated and supported is a powerful thing when we’re feeling emotionally and physically a bit wobbly. However, telling a friend or partner without sounding patronising is easier said than done.
Let them know through your actions. If you live with them, that might be making time to eat dinner together, asking how their day has been and really listening, or gestures like prepping their lunch for work and sorting chores without being asked. If you’re a friend, why not send a care package, arrange a coffee or even just drop them a text to let her know you’re thinking of them?
STUB OUT SMOKING
Did you know that if you decide to quit together you are almost six times more likely* to kick nicotine than going it alone?
Help them say goodbye to cigarettes forever by ditching the smokes too. You can then keep each other going, avoid temptation and bash those cravings on the nose.
*Research by the Imperial College London
FIND A NEW FOCUS
We can’t wish symptoms away, but it sure helps if we can find something nice to distract ourselves from them for a while.
Give yourselves and your relationship a new lease of life by finding something new to do together. Take their lead, they may not be up for learning to jive if they have got this symptom, but they might always have wanted to learn photography or how to cook Thai food.
Regular exercise, especially weightlifting, can improve the look of a person's chest.
Combining something you want to do (spend time together) along with something you need to do (exercise) can be a real game changer.
Partnering up to hit the gym is also more likely to help you both stay motivated.
If you’re worried about sagging breasts, you should see your GP who can discuss your symptoms in the context of the menopause.
If you'd like more information, we have put some further references below for you: