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Small breasts

In an ideal world, we would be judged only on our personality, and not on our appearance. Unfortunately, we live in a culture which suggests that impossible standards and physical beauty are the norm. Most of us are too fat, too thin or too blemished to conform with the images churned out by the media. Many of us feel self-conscious and dissatisfied as a result.

Breast size is a prime example. Breast enlargement operations are becoming much more common and sales of push-up bras are booming. This is despite the fact that small breasts are as functional as large breasts for breastfeeding, do not go droopy with age, are a kilo less of flesh to carry around, are better for sports and look good.
 
The Independent newspaper has pointed out that women who have implants to please men may be wasting their time. “Men are far less discerning than women take them for,” Phil Hilton, editor of Men’s Health magazine, told the newspaper. “Men think all breasts are good and are delighted to have access to any at all. The idea that they are connoisseurs is inaccurate. There’s no need for operations and scars and that kind of thing.”

Boob booster pads

Boob boosters might be the answer. Department stores sell gel-filled breast enhancers that you tuck into your bra, which feel like real breasts. Or look for gel-filled bras.

Exercises, creams and pills

Exercises can increase the size of the muscle beneath the breast, but will not increase the actual breast tissue. There is no scientific evidence that electrical stimulation, non-hormonal creams or massage treatments have any effect.
 
Women with large breasts often find that they become much larger with hormone treatments, such as the oral contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy, or during pregnancy. This does not usually happen if the breasts were small to start with.
 
‘Natural’ pills to boost breast size are available in some health food stores. These often contain ‘phytoestrogens’, which are substances from plants that have an oestrogen-like effect on the body. The pills contain very large amounts (compared with the quantities of phytoestrogens we would eat as part of our normal diet). The effect of phytoestrogens on the breast needs a lot more study. Experts worry that they could encourage breast cancers, although some studies have suggested that phytoestrogens might protect against breast cancer. Whether or not these pills increase breast size is debatable.

Breast implant surgery

Breast implant surgery (breast augmentation) is the only method of making breasts larger. It is obviously essential that the surgeon is reputable. Talk to your doctor about it. In the UK, it is very unlikely that you can have the operation on the National Health Service – this is normally possible only if the breast is being reconstructed after breast cancer surgery, or if one breast is very underdeveloped compared with the other. If it is to be done privately, here are some things to think about.
  • Look at the very informative website from the UK Government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This site explains the pros and cons very clearly, and has a list of points to discuss with your surgeon.
  • Check that the surgeon is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (see choosing a cosmetic surgeon and useful contacts); other countries have similar organizations.
  • Ask the surgeon to explain all the possible risks and, if you do not understand the explanation, ask for a clearer explanation.
  • Take a notebook with you, so you can write down important points.
  • After your discussion with the surgeon, go home and consider the information for a few days. In fact, the official recommendation is that there should be a ‘cooling-off’ period of several days between seeing the surgeon and having the operation, to give you sufficient time in which to change your mind.
  • Bear in mind that your implant will not last forever. The average silicone implant lasts about 16 years, so it might need to be replaced at some time in the future.
  •  
Diagram showing a breast implant in position
 
The operation. The implant is placed behind the breast tissue, between it and the chest wall muscle (although very occasionally, it is placed behind the chest wall muscle, between the muscle and the ribcage). It is never placed in the breast tissue, so it does not interfere with the function of the breast and you can breastfeed later on if you wish. The implants come in a great variety of sizes, so a correct-sized implant can be used to make your breasts look similar in size.
 
There will be a scar in the crease line under the breast. This will be red at first, but will gradually fade over 12 months. If a saline implant is used, some surgeons will be able to insert the bag of the implant by keyhole surgery (endoscopically) through an incision in the armpit. The bag is gradually filled with saline afterwards, and this technique means there is no scar on the actual breast.
For more detailed information about breast enlargement surgery, look at the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons’ website listed in the useful contacts.
 
Problems. A number of problems can occur after breast enlargement surgery.
  • After the operation, there will be some discomfort on moving your arms, but this wears off after 1–2 weeks.
  • Occasionally, blood collects around the implant in the first 24 hours after surgery, and the surgeon may have to reopen the incision to remove the blood.
  • Infections can occur and can usually be treated with antibiotics. However, if the infection is severe, the implant may need to be removed and replaced a couple of months later.
  • The nipple may feel sore or there may be loss of feeling in the nipple area. This is only temporary.
  • The scarred skin may become red and thick, and may stay like this for a year or two before starting to fade slowly. Tissue may tighten round the implant, squeezing it and making it feel much firmer. This used to be a common problem, but occurs less often with modern implants, which have a textured surface. If this happens, you may need another operation.
     
Types of implant
Silicone-gel implants produce the most natural-feeling breasts, and are still the most common in the UK, though they have had a bad press in recent years. In particular, some people thought leakage might cause ‘auto-immune’ diseases (arthritis-like diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus or scleroderma). In fact, all the evidence shows this does not happen and that silicone-gel implants are safe.
  • Silicone-gel implants stopped being used in the USA in 1992 following the health scare. But now an independent panel of scientists convened at the request of Congress has concluded that silicone breast implants do not cause major disease, and has recommended that they should become available again (Lancet 2003;362:1384).
  • Researchers in the USA thoroughly re-examined data from 20 previous studies on silicone implants. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000, showed no connection between breast implants and connective tissue diseases.
  • Swedish researchers have studied 3486 women with breast implants for an average of 18 years, and found no increase in breast cancer risk (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2006; 98: 557–60).

Leakage can, however, cause painful hardening of the breasts. In Europe, safety checks on implants were stepped up in 2003, and they now have a stronger casing to reduce the risk of leakage. If you have a silicone-gel implant, you should see your surgeon every year to try to detect leaks.

Silicone-gel implants show up as a shadow on X-rays. This means cancer cannot be detected easily by mammography in a person who has had an implant, and the breast has to be screened from special angles. If you have an implant, mention the it to the radiographer.
 
Saline implants may be safer than silicone gel implants and are the type used most frequently in the USA, but they may leak (which will mean another operation) and may also produce a rippled effect under the skin. They cause the same difficulties with mammography as the silicone type. They do not have the same consistency as breast tissue, so can feel wobbly and strange.
 
Soya-oil implants were used between 1995 and 1999. They are no longer used because some leaked into the breast, and it is feared that aldehyde chemicals from the oil could encourage cancers (though there is no evidence this has actually happened).
 
Tissue grown from our own bodies may be used as implants in the future. Researchers in the USA have taken fat cells from the thighs and buttocks, and grown them on breast-shaped polymer mesh. When the mesh is full it dissolves, leaving a piece of breast-shaped fatty tissue that could be implanted.
 

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Monday, January 16th 2012

 

GP and broadcaster Dr Phil Hammond shares his views on PIP breast implants and widens the debate on cosmetic surgery. What do you think? We welcome your comments below.

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Comments on this article

Posted by hunadi on 26/03/2013 at 08:36

am a size 36a and am only 14 am worried because am almost the same size as my mom and she is 45 is they anything i can do to reduce my breast without going for any surgery because am christian and we believe that we have to accept what god has blessed us with

Posted by Optional on 07/01/2013 at 07:40

How mad to go under the knife for a pair of pretend boobs. Boobs are for babies. An extra in sex unless yr man wants a Barbie doll . Seems odd to fit into what your man wants. I suggest men like that buy a blow up doll

Posted by Optional on 30/11/2012 at 07:33

I want help with mi breast cuz they're nt growing y i dont know

Posted by Optional on 28/11/2012 at 01:57

Love natural, small to medium is my preference.

Posted by MissAnonymous on 24/11/2012 at 03:33

I HATE MY 30A BOOBS. I cry when I put a swimming costume on, I ahet it so much. I'm nearly 22 and feel like I look like a litle girl. It's so embaressing and stupid. Why is surgery so expnesive? I'd give ANYTHING to have it done :(

Posted by Optional on 10/11/2012 at 10:33

Hi, Is these Silicone technique is also avilable in India.please provide the details of cost and where it can be done. and give some home technique

Posted by Nil on 28/10/2012 at 08:24

How do i increase my breast size wid home products?...im 20 year ...

Posted by hanhan99 on 29/09/2012 at 03:54

Hi I'm 13 and I am COMPLETELY flat chested all my friends have pretty big breasts I am the only one that doesn't I always feel empty and hardly any good clothes fit me!!!!!! Especially dresses cosi like to wear dresses but can't wear may

Posted by Optional on 06/09/2012 at 03:14

Im 16yrs old...my breasts havent increased at all since I was 11..Its like it keeps decresin nd gettin smaller..pls help as im rily concerned about it..i wuld b goin to the university very soon and i knw it'll be rily hard for me bcos people wil tink im a child...pls is ther anyway you can help

Posted by mohamad on 21/07/2012 at 11:47

Hello I have a X-X and Y do not know what to do and my breast a little big Can I grow a little

Posted by colien on 26/06/2012 at 12:34

where in namibia can i go for breast inlargement

Posted by mariam on 14/05/2012 at 04:55

am worried about how flat my chest is . my boyfriend said he is fine with it but i know he aint pliz which cream or pills can i use

Posted by Optional on 27/04/2012 at 12:55

Why are girls so desperate abt breast enlargement...am 20 am am 32a size,wat r d effect of silicon in d boobs

Posted by E on 11/01/2012 at 07:57

I can't believe the amount of women/girls that are worried about being size A or B. That is my goal size! I'm 20 and am a 32AA. We just need to learn to love ourselves and accept that someone might love the way we look ... while we still search for growth solutions. :)

Posted by sam on 23/02/2011 at 01:48

Hello, I had previously made an appointment with my local Doctor, & my hormone levels are just fine. As i have a very flat chest, I do not fit in any bra's at all witch is very upsetting for me constantly. I can not afford implants, & i am not sure what I can do?. As my doctor said taking any tablets might be risk because of my hormone levels are fine. Do you have any suggestions to help me be happy within? 110% desperate! Thank you.

Posted by tik-taks on a ironing board :) on 20/02/2011 at 12:07

I used to be extremely self conscious about my breast size which is a 34a because i have lots of big chested friends but some of them have back problems and they complain that their boobs have started to sag and tend to get the wrong sort of attention from guys. where i have small perky breast and i dont think there is a chance of them sagging! be happy with your small boobs, they are less hassle and breast implants feel horrible and most guys would agree!

Posted by Optional on 11/09/2010 at 03:46

i have a small boobs like 34A i would like to know how make it to grown a little more like 36C, how can you help me without implant or breast enlargement surgery.

Posted by Optional on 03/09/2010 at 09:40

My friends make fun of my breasts because their so small, they insult me constantly. Everything from announcing that i am out of the kid sizes to telling all the guys i am stuffing my bra or buying me a push-up bra for my birthday. It really sucks, all of my family have huge breasts. I wouldn't care about my breasts if no one cared.

Posted by Optional on 26/08/2010 at 07:10

I m 16 yrs old and i have only 32A size how can i grow my breast

Posted by Optional on 25/08/2010 at 05:22

im a 30a and im 13 and i have been the same bra size since i was 11. will my breasts ever grow? thank you x

Posted by isha on 13/08/2010 at 06:38

I am 28 years of age i have two kids i have always had small breast is there something else beside surgery i can take to make my breast a little bigger

Posted by Optional on 23/07/2010 at 04:51

I am 20 Yrs old..my Breast is too small..pls tell me some home remedy to increase my boob size..i dont want to go for any surgical treatment..so pls tell me some home made remedy for that.. Thanks

Posted by anjali on 16/07/2010 at 11:19

HII my breast is very small since i was in 12th what shuold i do plz help me

Posted by Optional on 26/05/2010 at 09:07

Hey, i'm very flat chested- it does make me feel like a little girl still as mentally i just don't feel like a woman because i don't have breasts. This can be very upsetting as i feel that i can't have a boyfriend- i know it sounds silly as not all boys are fussed by big breasted girls, but its just that i wouldn't want to put myself in the position where i really like a boy, they like me- then i have to tell them that i am flat chested in hope that they won't care- i just wouldn't want to put myself in that position. On the other hand, at least being flat chested means that the boys that do fancy me- like me for me- not just the size of my breasts and its made me realise that some girls are only liked by the size of their breasts- and therefore they probably won't be in a happy relationship as the boy doesn't like them for them. I am considering breast augmentation for when i'm 18, just before university- but i'm worried it could cause me bad consequences that could stop me going to uni straight away- due to infection or other problems. It will be a big step for me as i'm frightened of needles and anything to do with hospitals, but for me- it feels like a step in the right direction. I am yet to be persuaded to do otherwise but who knows? All i know, is that i'm doing it for myself- to feel like a woman, not just to show off the size of my breasts. I know this because i wouldn't care if i was a cup size A- i don't want to be a DD- i just want to have breasts! I don't understand girls who are a B and want a DD, i personally think its pointless. It's such a hard thing that the media have pushed us women into.

Posted by Feebs on 19/05/2010 at 03:25

Hey im 14 and am very flat chested. But I love it! Guys dont look at me in a weird way and tops fit me beautifully. I just feel that boobs arent evrything

Posted by Optional on 15/05/2010 at 01:07

Wow, I don't see the problem with small breasts, infact I love them, even more than huge ones. Huge breasts just make a girl look tarty in my opinion.

Posted by nisha samaroo on 06/05/2010 at 04:05

i have a child and my breast is really small but and i find it emmbrassed to be around people so i think i'm going to purchase a breast enchanment pills name MEGA BUST.so i was thinkin if you could letme know if thats a good pill.

Posted by Jennifer on 27/04/2010 at 08:49

I'm 26 and my breasts are small I hate having small breasts because I don't feel like a woman I just wished thay were rounder and more fuller then maybe I'd feel more womanly.

Posted by Optional on 04/03/2010 at 06:24

My chest is totally flat What should i do?

Posted by lynne on 04/02/2010 at 01:41

following a lumpetomy on my right breast for cancer. i now experience that both breasts are extremely different the surgery breast is now very tight an firm although smaller. the other now is dropping south and is very embarassing.i have not had a relationship in 10 years,as i do not want to explain (it is so platanly obvious)as to me this is very private and personal to me. iwasnot offered any help or support after my cancer treatment but could i still now ask after 10 years

Posted by Anonymous on 02/02/2010 at 05:11

FLAAATTTT BREASTS!!!!! At my age I am still shy about my breast development and will never be seen without a shirt. I have tried the local gym and work with an instructor, but after nearly a year I was still flat. I began a home gym to keep me fit and the body in shape. I am satisfied with the rest of my body and do get lots of compliments for my calves etc. Even though my body has got a v-shape looking from the front, it is my breasts that dont do the thing.

Posted by Rachel on 05/01/2010 at 10:23

Hi I'm 13 and I have really small breasts! all my other friends have quite large breasts and I really want them to grow faster, I wear bra's that are too big for me but I don't like doing that! but when I wear bigger bra's I feel older and more sexy, but I don't have cleavage or anything and I was wondering if you could help me on what to do? I'm not going to go back to my original small size because everyone would have thought my breasts have shrunk! please help! x

Posted by brest in fat on 18/12/2009 at 11:56

my breast is very small so my husband, my friends comment by breast pleas my breast very bigger than any tips in tamil

Posted by Nancy on 05/12/2009 at 03:06

am 21 years...& yet my breasts look like a 13 year old girl..that's so frustrating...evrytime my boyfrnd wants to touch it i don't let him!!! am despirt to do anything!!

Posted by tania on 27/06/2009 at 06:19

i have small breast how can i grow my breast ..

Posted by Rick on 19/03/2009 at 12:47

I was married to a lady who's breasts grew while she was first on the pill. I liked it for a long time but as aging took place the beauty stopped and became rather ugly. I since have come to like extremely small breasts as they don't age as harshly as large ones do. I'm now a man who favours a lady with small breasts.

Posted by Anonymous on 01/02/2009 at 12:24

my breasts arnt growing they re to small and evryone lses are massive i feel so worried that i might not acctually be a woman

Posted by xyz on 15/01/2009 at 08:09

my breats do not grow, while my body is gaining weight,,,wht should i do to increase my breasts and decrease my body weight

Posted by arpita on 02/01/2009 at 02:15

my breast is small. so i am unhappy

Posted by Anonymous on 28/12/2008 at 01:45

My boobs seem havent grown since i was about 12 and it doesnt seem like they ever will, even the pill didnt make a difference is there any possible reason to explain this?

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