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Healthy is Wealthy

How Your Breasts Affect Your Health

1. Yes, Breasts Can Suffer Infections Too

You may have come across the term ‘mastitis’ if you or your friends happen to be nursing. It is a common bacterial infection that occurs amongst breastfeeding mothers, where their breast tissue suffers inflamed and feels painful. (1) It most commonly materializes within the first 3 months post birth and produces cracks in the skin of your breasts. Other symptoms to look out for include: redness, hot swelling, breast lump or region of hardness, burning sensation in breasts that is continuous or only while nursing and nipple discharge.

2. Surprise, Surprise Breasts Feel Pain As Well

And there is also a scientific name for it: ‘Mastalgia.’  Now, does that make you take your tender breasts more seriously? Don’t be too alarmed though, mastalgia is a common phenomenon that occurs periodically. Possible causes include fluctuating hormones and also oral contraceptives.

This pain can be managed with over the counter analgesics though. However, it is important to note that if the tenderness and pain in your breasts is not due to menstruation related reasons, then it’s best advised to consult a doctor.

3. They Can Produce Discharge! 

Yep, they can leak alright. The discharge can range in colors from green, yellow, white and possibly also brown! This phenomenon can either be non-spontaneous, i.e. upon stimulation (which is perfectly normal) or spontaneous, which could include fluid or blood. If you aren’t currently lactating, a spontaneous discharge could indicate a serious underlying condition.

4. Your Bra Can Inflame Resident Lymph Nodes

Sometimes selecting the ‘perfect’ bra is almost akin to difficulty in finding ‘the perfect someone.’ We get it. A lot of women, however, choose aesthetics over comfort and end up squeezing themselves into tight bras that aren’t a very smart move.

According to the author of The Prevention and Complementary Treatment of Breast Cancer, Dr. Michael Schacter, M.D., “The nature of the bra, the tightness, and the length of time worn—will all influence the degree of blockage of lymphatic drainage. Thus, wearing a bra might contribute to the development of breast cancer as a result of cutting off lymphatic drainage, so that toxic chemicals are trapped in the breast.” This is the reason why some doctors advise their patients against the use of tight bras or bras with underwire.

5. Lumps Are More Common Than You Think

You think you found a lump—what’s next? Though all lumps discovered in breasts need to be examined by medical professionals, most of these, however, turn out to actually be noncancerous growths, particularly in younger women. So if while conducting your monthly self-breast examination you happen to encounter a lump—don’t panic. Experts claim 80-85% of breast lumps are benign.  Nevertheless, this must not stop you from consulting your doctor and getting a proper diagnosis done.

6. Don’t Shy Away From Nipple Stimulation 

While you may enjoy being felt up at times, did you know that stimulating your nipples is actually also good for your health? Nipple stimulation increases blood flow and encourages the production of certain female sex hormones that get rid of pro-cancer toxins from our breasts ducts, thereby helping us to fight cancer!  If that wasn’t enough, a massage could also lead to the production of the “love hormone”—oxytocin—which has been scientifically proven to reduce depression and stress.

Breastfeeding is the gift that simply keeps on giving. Not only does it supply your baby with nutrition and immunity boosters, but it also reduces a nursing mommy’s long-term risk for diabetes and helps in losing all that post-pregnancy weight!  On top of all of that, it creates a beautiful, everlasting bond between a baby and his mother. What’s not to love?

Who would have thought boobs had more to them than just getting in the way of you running and making bra-shopping hell. Oh well. You’re now aware of all the mysteries surrounding breasts and health. Who said there’s ever an end to self-discovery?

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