How to Keep Your Breasts Healthy as You Age
Erien W. Fryer, Certified Life, Health, and Wellness Coach
Keeping your breasts healthy is a must regardless of your age, but if you are over the age of 40, it’s time to give your breasts more TLC. When you reach this age, you’ll notice changes in your breasts, particularly their size, shape, and feel.
Breast Changes During Your 40s and Beyond
- You may start to feel lumps in your breasts as your period approaches. These bumps should disappear after your period starts. If not, you have to consult your doctor immediately.
- Your breasts will feel more tender and swollen during perimenopause.
- Your breasts may become bigger because of weight gain and higher estrogen levels. Plus, hormonal changes may lead to dense breasts.
- When you reach your 50s, your breasts may start to sag because of low estrogen levels. This occurs as you go through the postmenopausal phase.
Women Over 40 Are More At Risk of Breast Cancer
According to Breastcancer.org, women become more at risk of developing breast cancer as they age. When you’re in your 40s, you have a 1.45% chance of getting this disease over the next 10 years. When you reach your 50s, that probability increases to 2.31%, 3.49% in your 60s, and 3.84% in your 70s.
The risks may be even higher when other factors are considered, such as genetics, reproductive history, and lifestyle.
Signs of Unhealthy Breasts
You may be concerned if your breasts look or feel different to you. Here are some signs that your breasts may be unhealthy.
- Greenish or bloody nipple discharge.
- Unusual lumps before and during your period or after menopause.
- Itchy or reddish skin around your breasts.
- Chronic pain in your breast.
- Dimpling of the skin on your breast.
- Nipple inversion.
- Burning sensation.
Tips For Keeping Your Breasts Healthy
Knowing your increased risks of developing breast problems when you reach your 40s, you must take measures to keep them as healthy as can be! Don’t wait for problems to arise.
Here’s what you can do.
Be Mindful of Your Weight and What You Eat
When you reach 40, it’s easy to gain weight and overlook it. Since being overweight, or obese may lead to breast problems, eating healthy foods will help keep your weight in check.
For optimum breast health, you should eat leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach. Don’t forget to include citrus fruits in your grocery list and add in some berries, peaches, apples, herbs, and spices.
Stay away from fast food, processed meats, and fried foods. If you can’t avoid them totally, it’s okay to treat yourself occasionally, but make sure not to overindulge or make them a habit.
Supplements as Needed
Your circumstances may make it difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your breasts healthy from the food you eat. It may also not be practical to experience enough sunlight on your skin to obtain your needed amount of vitamin D. If so, make sure you take your vitamin supplements, especially vitamins A, C, and D. These are good for keeping your immunity strong.
Lack of sleep disrupts the normal levels of melatonin in your body. This hormone helps regulate estrogen that could otherwise lead to breast problems when unbalanced. Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
Stress can contribute to unhealthy breasts, not to mention that it can negatively affect your overall physical and mental well-being. Ideally, you should avoid the stressors that cause chronic stress as much as possible.
Understandably, that’s not always easy with work and relationship pressures, especially if you’re living a fast-paced, hectic lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. When you’re feeling anxious, worried, or feeling blue, you need to find ways to break the stress cycle.
To do that, as much as possible, take a breather and step away from what is causing you stress. Talk to a loved one and ask for a hug. It will help release the hormone oxytocin, which is known to make a person feel happier. You can also try some aromatherapy, or take a short break.
Exercise as vigorously as you are able, as this will expend and dissipate the stress hormones that are so dangerous when allowed to accumulate.
All these things may seem pretty basic, but they can make a large difference to your health. Eating healthy, taking supplements, sleeping well, and managing stress, you have probably heard a thousand times. It all seems too simple. However, many women take these ‘rules’ for granted and don’t follow them.
Unhealthy breasts can lead to or be aligned with other health problems, so you need to do whatever you can to keep them healthy, regardless of how simple it seems. Protect them well. Your life may depend upon it.
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