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What Can You Do About Sagging Breasts?

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 29 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Breast Surgery Sagging Breasts Exercises

Worries about sagging breasts are very common in women as they age. All women want to retain the pert, firm look they had as teenagers and they despair of the natural drooping and sagging of breasts that tend to occur, due to the effects of gravity over time.

Breast sagging can also be more pronounced straight after pregnancy, weaning or menopause – however, the extent of breast sagging and tendency to sag is very much determined by your genes and also by the quality of your diet, as well as how much support you give your breasts, especially during vigorous activity.

For those with sagging breasts, various strategies may help to improve the situation, including breast exercises, breast creams, diet and breast lift surgery.

What Causes Sagging Breasts?

There are various factors which can contribute to sagging breasts but the main cause is gravity. Breasts are only made up of connective tissue, ligaments and fat, with no muscle to maintain tone, and therefore as gravity pulls down on the breast over time, the ligaments and connective tissues stretch and cause the breast to droop.

Unfortunately, this is an inevitable, natural and irreversible process. You cannot tighten up and tone ligaments by exercising them, like muscle – once stretched, they will remain that way. How likely they are to stretch and how much they will stretch is determined in some part by your genes and also by your diet, since nutrition can contribute significantly to your skin and tissue elasticity.

Naturally, as larger breasts have “more” for gravity to act on, they are likely to sag more easily and more noticeably. Women who are overweight will also have bigger, heavier breasts with more fat tissue and therefore notice more sagging.

Can Sagging Be Prevented?

Sagging and drooping is a natural process and cannot really be stopped or prevented. However, it can be delayed by providing the breasts with some support, especially during vigorous activity when the ligaments are likely to be stretched too drastically if left unsupported.

Thus, wearing a bra will place some of the breasts’ weight on your shoulders and therefore take some burden off the connective tissues and ligaments. This is especially important during activities like jogging and other active sports when the breasts can “bounce” vigorously and therefore severely stretch the ligaments. Wearing a bra will also conceal sagging breasts by lifting them and providing a more pert profile in your clothes.

Exercises for Sagging Breasts

While the breast does not contain muscle and therefore cannot be toned or enlarged through exercise, it can still help to do some exercises which focus on the pectoral (chest) muscles beneath the breast as these will help to lift the breasts slightly.

Thus, exercises which work the muscles of your mid back as well as the muscles at the front of your shoulders and chest will improve your posture, prevent you from hunching and give the illusion of a firmer bust line. One of the simplest is the push-up which works your entire chest and back, as well as your abdominal muscles and your arms.

Nutritional Help for Sagging Breasts

Again, diet may not make a significant difference to sagging breasts but it can help by improving and maintaining the elasticity of your skin and connective tissues and helping your ligaments stay healthy. Vitamins like vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis and oils like flax seed oil will help to keep your skin soft and elastic.

Following a diet rich in whole grains, oily fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, good oils and a range of anti-oxidants will ensure that your breast tissue has the best chance to withstand the effects of gravity.

Similarly, creams and lotions can help to improve the appearance of breasts, even if they do not actually provide any real lift. By having an overall more attractive appearance, with firmer, smoother skin, breasts will appear firmer and younger.

Breast Lift Surgery

For any significant lift to be visible, you will have to resort to breast lift surgery or mastopexy. This cosmetic surgery procedure removes extra skin and tissue from the breast, thus tightening up and lifting the remaining skin and tissue. In some cases, it will also involve the use of implants to give more structure.

Usually, the nipple is repositioned higher up on the chest wall as well. This breast surgery is normally done under general anaesthesia or heavy sedation, although it is an outpatient procedure and will usually only take about 3 hours. Like all cosmetic surgery procedures, there are certain risks and complications associated with breast surgery.

Although complications following breast lifts are rare, there may be a chance of infection, bleeding and scarring. Finding a qualified, experienced surgeon and following his advice regarding pre- and post-operative care is the best way to minimise these risks.

Finally, remember also that breast lift surgery is simply a temporary “stop gap” and the results are not permanent – your enhanced breasts will still be vulnerable to gravity and the continuing pull on skin and ligaments over time.

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