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Causes, Symptoms, and Surgical Solutions – Implants, Lift, or Reduction

As the years go by, the breasts start to descend into a lower position. This is a normal part of the ageing process. However, this can also be the result of drastic changes in weight, childbirth, abnormal breast tissue enlargement (macromastia), and hormonal changes.

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Why Do Breasts Begin to Descend into a Lower Position?

Descending of the breasts into a lower position (breast ptosis) is a highly prevalent condition. However, the exact reasons are not clearly defined. One review studied 132 patients presenting for mastopexy (breast lift) or breast augmentation to address breast ptosis. ( 1 )

Researchers evaluated the degree of breast ptosis. About 85% of the patients who had at least a single pregnancy, developed negative changes in the shape of their breasts after pregnancy. In 35%, their breast size reduced, and in 30% the size of their breasts increased.

Based on the results, age, history of drastic weight loss (over 50 pounds), increased BMI, bra size, number of pregnancies, and smoking habits were found to be the biggest risk factors for breast ptosis.

The potential causes include:

  • Ageing – As the body ages, it creates fewer reproductive hormones, which changes the shape and texture of the breasts. Age also affects the connective tissue in the breast, causing it to lose its elasticity. This is a natural consequence of ageing.
  • Significant weight changes – Rapid weight loss shrinks the fatty tissue, but it won’t tighten the already stretched supportive ligaments. Because the breasts have lost their volume, they can descend into a lower position.
  • Giving birth – Sometimes, when pregnant, the ligaments that support the woman’s breasts can stretch as the breasts grow in size and weight. This type of stretching can leave a mark, or in this case, breast descent after giving birth.
  • Macromastia – This condition causes extra breast weight. Excessive breast tissue can make the breasts descend into a lower position.
  • Hormonal changes – When menopause draws near, the estrogen levels plummet. The glandular tissue shrinks, and the milk system no longer works. This makes the breasts more fatty and less dense.
  • History of smoking – Long-term smokers may notice they have more stretched breast tissue. Smoking has been linked to decreased production of collagen and elastin, which are essential proteins that help maintain the skin’s elasticity and firmness.
  • Insufficient upper body exercise – Engaging in regular upper body exercises, such as chest presses, push-ups, and rows, helps to strengthen the underlying muscles of the breasts, providing better support. When these muscles are underdeveloped due to insufficient exercise, the breasts may descend into a lower position due to inadequate support.. ( 2 )

How Can I Fix Descending Breasts?

A breast lift can raise the breasts to a higher position. Surgeons may also suggest other surgical procedures, such as breast augmentation or breast implants . Depending on the severity of the condition, a breast lift alone or a breast augmentation alone can address it.

To fix severe ptosis, a breast lift combined with breast implants and augmentation may be recommended for more comprehensive results. If the patient has increased breast size and descent is present, a breast reduction can help.

Real Patient Before and After Brest Reduction Photos

Below are Dr Rubinstein’s before-and-after breast reduction patients. These exhibit a variety of patient outcomes at our Melbourne location. Here is a selection of real patient before-and-after photos.

All these images have been used with the patient’s permission.

How to Fix Descending Breasts Naturally?

There are things about your breasts that you can and can’t change naturally. Breast tissue mostly consists of ligaments, glandular tissue, and fat cells. You can use natural options to gain slight changes.

If you are dealing with mild breast descent but have no desire to treat the breasts surgically, then there are a couple of natural options you can use.

Physical Activity

T o work on your breasts, it’s a good idea to strengthen the upper body. Exercises like arm curls, pushups, bench presses, and swimming can come a long way. They are capable of changing the overall look of the chest and improving posture and muscle strength.

Changes in Nutrition and Diet

Supplying your body with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals should be a top priority. Feeding the body with all the nutrients it needs not only nourishes the skin but also makes the system more resilient and healthy.

By doing that, you are less likely to pack on a few extra pounds. Besides, obesity can put a lot of strain on the skin tissue. The extra fat makes the breasts heavier, making them prone to breast descent. Other than the food you are eating, you should steer clear of tobacco.

Smoking is one of the many causes that lead to descending breasts. So, it would be in your best interest to eliminate this contributing factor. Also, don’t forget to remain hydrated. Water is good for the skin. It can also help the breast tissue work on its overall strength and firmness.

Wearing Proper Breast Support

A bra won’t necessarily fix breast descent, but it can give the breasts adequate support. It decreases the stress and strain on the breasts’ supporting muscles and tissues. This is particularly useful in women with larger and heavier cleavage. If you lose or gain a few pounds, then you should get the bra re-fitted.

Bras come in different shapes, designs, and styles. A strapless bra wraps around the bust, but won’t create extra support. It is better meant for formal attire, especially when you are going strapless. A T-shirt bra is designed to offer comfort. It can be a good choice for bell-shaped breasts.

But, for fuller and larger breasts, an underwire bra may be necessary. It offers solid support. People who don’t like the underwire can wear wireless bras. However, for very large breasts, an underwire might be optimal to get that full support. ( 5 )

Fixing the Posture

When you sit bent or hunched, your breasts start getting pulled down by their weight. This creates tension and pressure on the tissue. In some cases, the constant bad posture can make breast descent worse.

Fixing the posture, on the other hand, teaches the body to use better sitting and standing positions. The more you pay attention to it, the less amount of strain you will place on the supporting muscles and ligaments.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is completely normal to experience some level of breast descent, especially as you get older or you’ve recently given birth. You can recognise the condition by paying attention to the shape and position of your breasts and nipples.

To treat descending breasts, women opt for a breast lift. But, sometimes, if the condition is moderate or severe, then additional procedures may be useful, like breast augmentation or breast implants. All of these treatments can offer notable results.

Natural options, diet, exercise, good posture, and proper breast support can help. But, don’t expect them to be as effective as surgery.

FAQs

Why are my breasts descending at 21?

All breasts start to descend over time. Regardless if you wear a bra or not. But, there isn’t an exact age when this will happen. A woman in her 20s can have this condition. It could be caused by different factors such as breast size and shape, significant weight loss, pregnancy, or breastfeeding.

How do you lift your breasts with a bra?

You can use a push-up bra to lift your breasts. Not only do push-up bras support the breasts, but they lift them as well.

Should I wear a bra to bed?

There is no medical evidence that suggests you shouldn’t be sleeping with a bra. Whether you want to go to bed with a bra is completely up to you.

Can not wearing a bra cause breast descent?

Not wearing a bra won’t make the breasts descend. Bras have nothing to do with the risks of breast ptosis either. They just offer some level of comfort and support. Many women with bigger breasts can use a bra to avoid back pain and the pressure they feel due to their heavy breasts. ( 6 )

Is a sports bra good for breast descent?

Compared to a regular bra, a sports bra should be a slightly tighter fit. They are meant to keep the discomfort at bay when exercising. Sports bras may not be the most fashionable choice, but they do offer convenience and functionality.

What type of bra is best for breast descent?

It depends on personal preference and breast size. Many bras are available on the market. If you prefer padding, then an underwired push-up bra can be a solid choice. But, if you want padding, then a padded bra can help. Most women tend to go for a padded push-up bra with wiring for breast descent.

How to tighten descending breasts in 7 days?

If breast descent is bothering you, then talk to a specialist plastic surgeon. A board-certified plastic surgeon can offer you some practical solutions that work for your specific condition.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20354434/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK567792/
  3. https://azdermacare.com/classifying-the-5-degrees-of-breast-ptosis/
  4. https://espritcosmetic.com/classifying-the-degree-of-ptosis-for-breast-lift/
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-sagging-breast#outlook
  6. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/going-braless/

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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