When I started Mayana Genevière it was primarily focused on addressing women who have been omitted from the conversation of motherhood - the postpartum phase. It has since evolved into one that supports women at various stages of their lives - today only ⅓ of our customers are new moms - 2/3 are 10+ years postpartum or have never had children, who are searching for something more comfortable and supportive especially in menopause.
Surprisingly, we’ve found over the years of fitting and supporting thousands of women in menopause have very similar experiences to women postpartum in terms of symptoms and needs.
To understand how your beasts change during menopause let’s look at what are breasts are and how they work - most people have no clue. Physiologically both males and females have a nipple and an areola. Breasts are made up of Fatty Tissue, Milk Producing Glands and Connective / Fibrous Tissue - and of course blood vessels, lymphatic system. The difference is male breasts don’t function for breastfeeding and the fatty tissue in their breasts do not respond the same way as women's. That's why our sizes are different.
WHAT HAPPENS IN MENOPAUSE?
During your late 40s, you’ll start to notice some changes as you approach menopause—the period known as perimenopause. Your periods will be less frequent, and hormones begin to change, your breasts may feel tender and more lumpy you’ll start to notice changes in the size and shape of your breasts.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO YOUR BREASTS
Your milk system starts to shut down, glandular tissue in your breasts shrinks. That causes them to become less dense and more fatty, which can lead to sagging. You may also notice that your breasts aren't as full as they used to be, and their size may change OR
Changes in breast size and shape
A recent study found that 1 in 5 women went up a bra size after menopause (typically due to weight gain). When your current bras don’t fit you anymore, find bras that offer a supportive lift to prevent any pulling of your skin.
Shopping for Bras Guide:
- Allows your breasts to breathe
- Offers a stretch as you move through the day.
- Not constricting (doesn’t leave red marks on skin)
- Made with fabrics that are healthy for your body.
On the one hand, bra shopping is straightforward. Choose a style you like, measure yourself, and adjust the straps to try it on.
On the other hand, when you are experiencing things like pregnancy, nursing, menopause, weight fluctuation, or your period, a good bra fitting is key to helping you understand your breast changes and how the right foundational garments can support you.
This also gives you the reassurance that you are supporting your breast health and not contributing to consequences (like blocked milk ducts, sagging, or restricting circulation) down the line.
Did you know to support you in receiving the most from your undergarments, you can book a complimentary consultation? We have an incredible in-house expert Faduma, who facilitates these sessions.
Tenderness or pain.
Before your period, fluid builds up in your breasts, making them feel more swollen, tender, or painful than other times of the month - Perimenopause makes this process unpredictable.
The same researchers found relaxation techniques or massaging achy breasts to relieve discomfort. Try a breast massage - even 10 minutes a day can help with stress relief, improving circulation, and releasing pain and breast tenderness.
More common in menopause. As you have more fatty tissue and with hormonal changes you could have cysts, fluid-filled sacs that are very common that feel like grapes. However, if you notice a breast change that isn’t usual, don’t wait until your next mammogram. Make an appointment to get it checked.
How to Be Breast Aware
Being breast aware is important for everyone, especially for those with an increased risk of breast cancer due to a genetic mutation or family history. Being breast aware means getting to know your own body. Get comfortable with what your breasts normally look and feel like, and how they may normally change over the course of the month. If you are breast aware, you may notice unusual changes to your breasts sooner.
What changes should I look for?
- Lumpiness in your breasts is normal breast tissue. However, it is important to know what is normal for you so that you can notice any changes. You may also notice changes during your menstrual cycle.
- Lumps that are new, hard, or do not move easily are more worrisome. You should also feel for any lumps in your armpits.
- Monthly breast self-exams and annual breast examinations by a healthcare provider or nurse are recommended. However, if you are breast aware, you can look out for changes that may indicate early signs of breast cancer.
Sometimes self care looks like showing up and advocating for yourself. With this information and the High Heels & Hot Flashes event, we hope you can continue educating yourself and the Women around you. Let’s support one another where healthcare falls short.