Breast self-examination is an integral part of women’s breast health. Whether you’re eyeing breast enhancement or not, you should pay regular attention to how your breasts look and feel. Your breast tissue extends from under your nipple and areola up toward your armpit, and it’s highly crucial that you keep an eye on its health and status.
Your goal is to know your cyclical changes, what is normal and not, and what regular monthly changes occur in your breast. Additionally, you should know any other markers will help you do this.
How to Do a Breast Self-Exam
Breast self-exams are quite easy to do, and they require no more than 15 minutes of your time every month. Here are the simple things you need: a mirror that allows you to see both your breasts, a pillow for your head and shoulders, and, a private space for conducting the self-exam.
Here are the different types of breast-self exam that you can do:
- Hands on hips (Visual). In your bathroom, strip to the waist. Stand before a mirror and see both your breasts at the same time. Stand with your hand on your hips, and check how your breasts appear. Take a look at the shape, size, and contour. Note changes in the texture and skin color. Pay attention to your nipples and areolas.
- Stand and stroke (Manual). Raise your left arm overhead. Use your right-hand fingers to gently put pressure to your left breast. Stroke from top to the bottom and move across from the inside of your breast all the way to your armpit. A circular motion may be helpful as well. Note any color, size, or texture change. Go to your other breast and repeat these steps.
- Arms over your head (Visual). Standing in front of a mirror, raise your arms over your head. See if your breasts are moving in the same way, and if there are differences. Look at shape, size, and drape, or overall symmetry. Check your nipples and areolas for any bumps, dimples, or indentation. See if there is any swelling in your lower armpit, where your lymph nodes are located.
- Recline and stroke (Manual). Go to your bedroom and lie down. Put a pillow on the bed for you to lie with both your head and shoulders. Lie down, put your left hand behind your head, and use your right hand to stroke your breast and underarm. Note any changes in size, color, or texture. Go to your other breast and repeat these steps.
The important thing is to report any unusual finding you have on your breasts to your healthcare practitioner. This will help detect any abnormalities early on, and prevent having a breast illness.
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