GETTING a itch here and there on your body is very normal.
But have you ever had an insatiable urge to scratch your boobs?
It can be confusing – and also pretty inconvenient to attend to if you're in public.
But you're not alone in experiencing this inexplicable itch -some 81,000,000 other people have recently searched ‘itchy breast’ on Google.
There are five possible reasons this could be happening, according to experts at Implant Health – thankfully, almost none of them a very serious.
But that niggling itch in your breast might be your sign to get to know your knockers a little better. That way you can keep track of any changes to them.
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So, what are your itchy breasts trying to tell you?
Plastic Surgeon’s and founders of Implant Health, Paul Harris – who featured on Channel 5's Botched Up Bodies – Amir Sadri and Aadil Khan, broke down five surprising reasons your breasts might be giving you the itch.
1. Your bra needs a wash or doesn’t fit
We all have a super comfy, go-to bra that we maybe wash a little less often than we should – we might even pull it out of the washing basket.
But if you're noticing a telltale itch in your boobs, it might mean your bra is seeing the washing machine a little too rarely.
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Unfortunately, it can cause some issues with your breasts.
Paul, Amil and Aadil explained that the bacteria your skin breeds and all the dead skin cells, oils, and sweat it sheds can become trapped within the fabric of your trusty bra, making it a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.
This can begin to irritate the skin, causing it to itch and cause some unpleasant odours.
When it comes to fitting, it is very important that you measure your bra size accurately.
Besides being dreadfully uncomfortable, ill-fitting bras can cause lumps around the breasts. Whilst these lumps are usually nothing to worry about, it's always best to get them checked by a health professional as there can sometimes be cause for concern.
If you have implants, and you have noticed any lumps or unusual changes to the shape or size of the breast it is very important that you book in for a clinical screening to check for any abnormalities, the plastic surgeons noted.
Dedicated, clinical screening services, such as Implant Health, monitor both breast health and implant changes over time, allowing for the early detection of any problems and effective treatment.
2. The weather is changing
Your skin reacts differently to each season so as we head into winter, the colder weather could be the culprit behind the prickly feeling in your breasts.
When it’s cold, your skin may become a little drier.
But when it's warm, you may find a lot of trapped body heat can accumulate around the breast.
This may cause the areas between and underneath your breasts to sweat, resulting in them feeling a little itchy and making the skin sore.
Paul, Amil and Aadil recommend choosing lighter materials for your bra and clothing in the summer if possible, to keep the area cool.
3. You're going through perimenopause
Did you know, it is quite common to experience the symptoms of perimenopause as early as 30?
In the ten years leading up to menopause, your body goes through many changes, including hormonal changes that can lead to itching.
In the years leading up to menopause, it is normal to feel a little itchy for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the decline in oestrogen and collagen within the body makes the skin feel drier, which can cause the areas that hold body heat – such as the breasts and genitals – to itch.
Secondly, the change in hormone levels can cause your body temperature to spike suddenly. This is typically known as a hot flush, and again the added sweat can lead to itching.
4. Your skin is stretching
Skin stretching around the breasts is usually associated with rapid growth, including puberty, weight gain, and pregnancy.
However, it can also happen following breast procedures, including augmentations.
When you grow through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, your skin expands over an extended period of time.
But when we gain weight rapidly, or become pregnant, the skin stretches faster than it grows, which can cause itchiness and skin inflammation.
The Implant Health experts noted that your skin will be able to stretch and then return to normal when it's healthy and hydrated.
They added that if you've recently undergone a breast augmentation itching is a normal part of the healing process, as the skin must be stretched to accommodate your implants during the procedure.
Most people find that the itching goes away within a few months of surgery.
5. You're pregnant
Besides the skin beginning to stretch to accommodate new life, during pregnancy, your hormone levels can be a little all over the place. These changes can leave your knockers feeling a little tingly, and maybe even sore.
During the first stages of pregnancy, your breasts begin to prepare to produce milk. Naturally, the hormone progesterone will begin to increase, and the tissue will change causing the breasts to become itchy.
You may also notice your breasts begin to increase in size and become a little harder to the touch.
Sometimes during pregnancy, you may also develop lumps around the breast. These are usually benign and have to do with hormonal changes.
Again, if you notice any lumps or anything unusual about the breast, you should get them checked out by a medical professional.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR BOOBS CORRECTLY
Now, be honest, when was the last time you checked your breasts? A recent study by Breast Cancer Now highlighted that over 40 per cent of women never check their breasts.
If you're one of the 60 per cent that do occasionally give their knockers a once over, are you sure you're doing it correctly?
Ideally, women should thoroughly examine their breasts once per month, on the same day or a couple of days after a period, Paul and his colleagues said.
Here's how to do it.
Stand in front of a mirror with the shoulders straight, and arms on your hips. Check for any visual changes in size or shape – this is particularly important if you have breast implants as it could signify a rupture.
You should also check for changes to the nipple area, and skin. Are there any indentations?
Now raise your arms above your head. Notice how your breasts move while you do so. Do they move as they normally would? Breast cancer can make breasts less mobile.
Next, use your right hand to feel your left breast. In circular motions, run the index and middle finger from side to side, from the collarbone to the top of the abdomen, then from your armpit to your cleavage.
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Now, repeat that process from the nipple, moving towards the outer edge of the breast. Lastly, do the same around your armpit area. You can now move onto the next breast, using the left hand to check your right breast.
Itchy boobs can happen to all of us, and it’s quite normal for our breasts to change. But it is important to know your breasts and have anything unusual checked out by a medical professional or book in for a breast health screening.
Breast cancer signs
Here are some signs of breast cancer to watch out for when you check your boobs:
- Change in nipple direction
- New nipple inversion
- Change in size, shape or outline of breast
- New lumps or thickening, dimpling or puckering
- Nipple discharge
- Rashes, redness, darker patches or nipple crusting
- Orange-peel like skin, or appearance of cellulite
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