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Why do breasts sag and how can you stop it from happening?

20th October 2017

Nature can be cruel and can affect the human body in a variety of ways. Sagging breasts are perhaps one of its cruellest tricks and unfortunately, it is an issue that affects all women.

Many believe that pregnancy, losing weight, and age are what make your breasts lose their shape. Whilst all of the above are key contributors, they are not the only that play a role in your breasts losing their shape.

Indeed there are a host of determining factors that can affect the shape of a woman’s breasts.

What is a breast?

Before we discuss what other factors affect the shape of a breast, it’s important to understand the makeup of the breasts themselves.

Breasts are made up of two types of tissue, fatty tissue and glandular tissue, both of which overlie the pectoral muscles on your chest.

The quantity of fatty tissue within a breast determines the size whilst a myriad of connective tissue and ligaments help give the breasts their overall shape.

The glandular tissue is what produces milk when women are breastfeeding, meaning the breasts can increase and decrease in size at regular intervals.

How to stop breasts drooping

No matter how much one might wish to defy nature, eventually all women will experience a loss of shape in their breasts at some stage in their life.

However, the good news is that there are steps that can be taken to postpone the onset of sagging breasts and allow you maintain a youthful appearance for longer.

Douglas McGeorge is a plastic surgeon who is on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council and is also a full member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says that lifestyle changes such as sudden weight loss or weight gain, smoking or becoming pregnant can all have drastic effects on a woman’s breasts, whilst gravity also plays a major role.

“The bottom line is gravity – everything stretches under the influence of gravity, the more you expose something to gravity the more it will stretch.”

“Large breasts fall further than small breasts and people with thin skin and thin tissue are pulled further down than people with more resilience in the breast tissue.”

As well as the issues already outlined, below are 4 common problems that cause drooping breasts and solutions that can help postpone the onset of sagging breasts.

Ageing

Due to the fact that breasts contain no muscles to support the ligaments that are a part of the breasts, they are likely to stretch, resulting in drooping under the weight of the fatty tissue that they have been supporting for years.

Loss of elasticity within the ligaments, that comes as a result of age, contributes to the breasts losing their fullness and perkiness.

Douglas McGeorge says: “As we get older our skin loses its elasticity and thins, meaning gravity has a greater effect on tissues. As a result there is less resistance to counteract those forces, which means the stretching process accelerates as we get older.”

Solution

No doubt many people would like to turn back time and have the bodies that they had during their prime.

Unfortunately, naturally reversing any loss of shape to the breasts is impossible, but there are a couple of solutions that can help prevent the ligaments in the breasts stretching as much over time.

The first preventative measure is to wear a good fitting bra. The bra will support the breasts, lifting them and helping to prevent the ligaments from stretching as much over an extended period of time.

A good fitting bra should support the breasts weightlessly, fitting comfortably under the breasts without pinching or pulling.

The underwire of the bra should go around the contour of the breasts themselves, whilst also sitting flat against the chest and the whole breast should fit comfortably into the cups.

Alongside a good fitting bra, you can also try maintaining the fullness of the muscles of the chest wall to delay the onset of breast droop.

Whilst the breasts themselves do not contain any muscle, they do rest on top of the pectoral muscles of the chest.

Keeping the pectoral muscles healthy and strong can help support the fatty tissue within the breasts.

Muscle mass can be maintained by doing push-ups, using a barbell bench press or a seated machine chest press to help build pectoral muscle and provide essential support to your breasts throughout your life.

Weight loss or weight gain

A woman’s weight can have a big influence on the shape and size of their breasts. Weight affects the amount of fatty tissue within the breasts.

Gaining weight increases the fatty tissue within the breast and results in breasts enlargement.

The added weight results in increased tension on the ligaments and connective tissues. As the breasts struggle to bear the weight, they lose shape and begin to sag and droop.

When you lose weight, the amount of fatty tissue contained within the breasts decreases. Unfortunately, this doesn’t undo the damage previously caused to the ligaments.

Commenting on the issue Douglas McGeorge said: “If you gain weight many people’s breasts will get bigger, it’s like overstretching the envelope.

“When they lose weight and their breasts empty again, the envelope deflates and causes the breast to sag.”

Solution

The best way to try and avoid a loss in breast shape is to maintain a steady healthy weight.

If you are looking to lose weight, it’s better to do so gradually. This allows the ligaments and connective tissue within the breast to adjust to the change in body shape and allow your breasts to cope better as the tension is eased.

Hormone Changes

Hormone changes can have a drastic effect on a woman’s body and especially their breasts.

These changes affect a woman’s breasts when they are pregnant or going through puberty and the menopause.

Douglas McGeorge says: “The glandular tissue is affected by hormone changes. Pregnancy makes breast get bigger. Afterwards the skin envelope doesn’t always shrink back around it and you end up with a saggy breast.”

Similarly, when a woman goes through the menopause, the effects of oestrogen, or in this case, a lack thereof have a visible effect on the breasts.

They lose their fullness and shape.

Solution

Unfortunately, when it comes to hormone changes during pregnancy affecting the breasts, there is little that can be done.

For those going through the menopause, hormone replacement therapy is an option that can be considered

Smoking

Smoking affects the quality of tissues and their elasticity and drooping occurs as a result.

Douglas McGeorge says: “There is no doubt that smoking damages skin and you lose elastic tissue.

“If you lose the elastic tissue you have skin that has less tone in it and is, therefore, more influenced by gravity.”

Solution

The simple answer is, of course, to stop smoking.

Not only will this help you take preventative measures against drooping breasts, it can also lower your risk of suffering heart disease and lower your risk of getting cancer.

How we can help?

Ultimately gravity takes its toll and a breast lift procedure. Can be considered to correct the problem.

The procedure, which is also known as a mastopexy, helps reshape and raise sagging breasts.

Surgery is designed to elevate the breasts and give them a more youthful appearance.

If you would like more information about how we can help or would like information about any of the other procedures that we offer, please call us today on 07973 130 058 or complete our online enquiry form.