Sagging breasts, also called breast ptosis, is a natural consequence of aging, pregnancy, drastic weight loss, hormonal imbalance, and collagen deficiency. Women with bigger breasts may be more prone to sagging because increased breast mass is subjected to the stronger forces of gravity.
The severity of the sagging breasts is determined by the position of the nipple with respect to the breast fold. Breast ptosis or sagging of breasts is diagnosed when the position of the nipple is on the same line or below the breast fold.
Unfortunately, since breasts are not made up of muscles, it is not possible to firm up breast tissue with exercise. Breast lift surgery is the only way to bring back the original shape of the breasts. However, you can take certain measures to improve the overall appearance of your breasts.
10 causes of sagging breasts
- Age: Advanced age is one of the most common causes of sagging breasts. As you age, estrogen production reduces, which can lead to sagging. Once you reach menopause, the lack of estrogen causes your breasts to shrink in size.
- Genetics: Genetics play a significant role in determining whether your breasts will sag. Elastin and collagen fibers are proteins that support breasts, and their production is regulated by DNA.
- Heavy breasts: Having large breasts can cause sagging breasts, since gravity pulls them downward. The heavier your breasts, the greater the gravitational force operating on them.
- Weight changes: Both sudden weight gain and sudden weight loss can cause breasts to sage. Rapid weight gain can cause breasts to grow heavier and droop. Rapid weight loss can cause loss of fat tissue that supports the breast, skin, and muscle.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancy, may lead to sagging breasts. The ligaments that support the breasts stretch and droop with milk production. To prevent sagging breasts, it is recommended to reduce pregnancy weight immediately after delivery.
- Smoking: Smoking causes skin weakening and drooping, particularly on the face and breasts. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals, which damage skin cells and tear down the elastin protein found in the breasts. This lowers the flexibility of the breasts, resulting in sagging or drooping.
- Lack of support: If your breasts are not supported properly, they tend to sag. However, since wearing a bra all the time can weaken breast ligaments and thus lead to early sagging, use a supportive bra during the day and remove it at night.
- Exercise: Vigorous exercise can cause excessive movement which eventually leads to sagging. Use a comfortable and properly fitted sports bra when jogging, running, or doing other high intensity exercises.
- Nutritional deficiency: Breast sagging can be caused by a nutritional deficiency, such as lack of vitamins B and C. These two vitamins aid in the manufacture of elastin and collagen fibers, which help maintain breast firmness.
- Collagen deficiency: Breast sagging can be caused by connective tissue collagen deficiency as well. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, for example, is a condition that causes breast sagging, among other problems.
How to improve sagging breasts
Though breasts are not made up of muscles, underneath breast tissue are chest muscles (pectorals or pecs). Upper body workouts can strengthen muscles in the chest, shoulders, and upper arms, which helps the breasts to sit higher on the chest wall and the breasts appear firmer. Maintaining good posture also helps evenly distribute body weight and prevent sagging.
Wearing a well-fitted bra with adequate support can improve the appearance of the chest. Many people are unaware of their correct bra size, which can change over time. Some clothing stores have employees who can measure and determine the best bra size for you. It’s also important to wear a supportive bra when exercising.
Diet and nutrition
Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help you maintain balanced hormone levels and healthy body weight. Avoid smoking and unprotected sun exposure, as this can be harmful to your skin and overall health.
Surgery is the only effective way to reverse sagging breasts. Breast lift surgery, also called mastopexy, involves removing excess skin and tightening breast tissue to reshape and support the overall breast. Breast implants may also help with providing a more defined shape or to increase the size of the breast.
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WebMD. What to Know About Sagging Breasts. https://www.webmd.com/women/what-to-know-about-sagging-breasts
Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Why do breasts sag and how can you stop it from happening? https://www.aestheticplasticsurgeons.org/stop-breasts-sagging/