By Guest Blogger: Serena D. Tidwell, MD, Midtown OB/GYN
Lumps, bumps and other questions about your boobs
Breast development in tween girls can be a source of anxiety. While this stage of development is certainly normal, she’s likely to feel self-conscious and awkward and maybe embarrassed. We asked Dr Serena Tidwell, MD, at Midtown OB to answer some common questions that young girls may have about their breasts. If you have a question for Dr. Tidwell, send us an email.
My breasts are uneven. Is this normal?
Breast asymmetry is very common and normal. It is often more pronounced during development but often adult women have uneven breasts also.
My breasts are very large, and they make my back hurt because they are so heavy. What can I do?
The best first line things are to wear good support bras. Motrin, Alleve or Ibuprofen can also help pain associated with this. If you are overweight and you lose weight, you will also lose weight in your breasts. For refractory and severe cases some women opt to have a breast reduction.
Is it normal to have hair around my nipples?
My nipples point inward instead of out. Is this normal?
This is normal as long as it is not a new finding. If that is the way your nipples have always been, and it’s not new then it is fine. This is called “inverted” nipples. However, if this is a new finding in one or both breasts you should see your medical Provider as soon as possible.
What are stretch marks? Are they normal?
Stretch marks are just that – where the skin has been stretched out. Some women will get those on their breasts from weight loss and gain or pregnancy. They are normal.
I have a rash around the nipple are of my breast, does that mean my breast are infected?
It could mean there is an infection; however, in some cases it could also be from wearing a new bra or shirt or coming in contact with something that your skin was sensitive to. If it is associated with pain, fever or other symptoms of infection then you should see your medical Provider.
Is breast pain or tenderness normal?
It is common, but if a new or persistent finding then it should be evaluated. Some women have “fibrocystic” changes. In the past we called this “fibrocystic disease” but now we call that “fibrocystic changes” because so many women have it. If you have fibrocystic changes then you will benefit from reduced caffeine intake and some women find Vitamin E supplementation helpful.
What if I have a discharge coming from my breast?
Most women can express milky white discharge from their breast with manipulation (squeezing) the breast. So if the discharge is milky / clear / white and only with manipulation then that is not concerning. However, if the discharge is only from one breast, is bloody, is green or is staining your clothes or in large amounts then that needs to be evaluated by your medical Provider.
Is it normal to have lumpy breasts?
It is very common to have lumpy breasts. Especially with your menstrual cycle you may note swelling and pain. The most important thing is to get comfortable with how your breasts feel and pay attention to any change.
What if I notice a new lump or something different about my breasts?
If you notice a new lump that persists after a menstrual cycle and / or recurs that is an indication to see your medical Provider. Usually in young girls with this presenting complaint a first test would be a breast ultrasound.
What if I notice a hard lump and redness on my breast?
Again, this would be an indication to see your medical Provider. We do see infections of the breast in all age groups. Generally these are treated with antibiotics and a breast ultrasound is usually performed.
What if I have a bump on my breast(s) from a sports injury or fall?
This is very common. These are usually internal bruises. This should go away within a few weeks and if it doesn’t then you should see your medical Provider. Wearing a sports bra even to sleep will help any pain associated with this.
Can a girl my age (tween or teen) develop breast cancer?
The quick answer: HIGHLY UNLIKELY! Advancing age is a risk factor for breast cancer. Breast cancer is incredibly rare in anyone less than age 20. Statistics are limited given how rare this is but the estimates are that per 100,000 women age 15-19 that 0.2 women out of 100,000 would develop cancer. However, if you have a strong family history of breast cancer, if your Mom or a Sister had breast cancer at a young age or if there is any family history of the breast cancer gene (BRCA 1 or 2) then you should see your medical Provider and discuss your family history.
Dr. Tidwell is a native of Columbus. She received her undergraduate degree at Emory University and her medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia. She completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and returned to her hometown to practice. She is Board Certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology. She has one daughter, Morgan born in September 2003.