What's Normal, What's Not
You may sometimes worry that your breasts don't look "right." But most of the things women are concerned about are not actually that unusual, Peeke says. For example, it's completely normal if:
- Your breasts are slightly different sizes.
- One breast hangs slightly lower than the other.
- You have hair around your nipples.
- Your breasts hurt or feel tender before and during your period.
Tell your doctor if you see any unusual changes, though. For example, make an appointment if you notice:
- A firm lump you've never felt before
- Swelling around your breast, collarbone, or armpit
- Dry, cracked, red, or thickened skin (like an orange peel) around your nipple
- Blood or fluid (besides milk) leaking from your nipples
- Warmth or itching in your breasts
These symptoms don't always mean something's wrong, but it's important to get checked out by a doctor. They may be harmless changes, or they may be caused by an irritation or infection that can be easily treated. Rarely, they can be signs of cancer.
You may need to see a doctor if your nipple looks like it's pulling back into the breast. But only if it's a change in your appearance, says Erin Hofstatter, MD, assistant professor of medical oncology at Yale School of Medicine. "Roughly 10% of women have naturally inverted nipples," she says. It's not a problem if it's something you've had all along.