Should I be concerned about my breasts growing in my thirties?
April 15, 2013 8:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm not gaining weight, not taking any prescription drugs, and I'm DEFINITELY not pregnant.

I'm about to be 32, I'm quite slender (size 0/1 at 5'10"), and I've been this same size for half my life or longer (reached full height & shoe size around 13, filled out a bit more in the next few years). EXCEPT that my boobs keep getting bigger. At 13 or so, I was an A-cup. At college graduation (21), probably a B-cup. Nothing too weird there.

I'm definitely at least a C-cup now (that's what I'm actually wearing), and considering how my bras are (not) fitting, probably really a D/DD -- a somewhat recent development.

I am NOT gaining weight in any other way I can recognize (I don't own a scale, but all my other clothes still fit fine, and my body otherwise seems like how it normally does). I do not take hormonal contraceptives or any other medication. I am absolutely NOT, and have never been, pregnant (haven't had sex in like a year -- oh well). It hurts -- my breasts typically swell somewhat the week before my period, but it's happening now less than a week after my last period ended; a woman friend of mine has mentioned noticing the change; and I've noticed my male coworkers looking, too (which is something I hadn't ever really noticed before). They are approximately the same size as each other (never really been even-even, but they're certainly as close as they've ever been -- i.e., the growth is not in one breast more than the other), and neither feels unusually lumpy.

I was diagnosed with PCOS several years ago (due to acne and excess hair growth); I did take HCPs for a while (which didn't help either symptom, broke my libido, and made me extremely smad at all times), but have not taken them at all for at least four years.

I'm afraid I may be a little old for this to be happening (early-to-mid-20's seems to be standard for this, but I'm a bit older -- I didn't menstruate until I was 15; can I tack on a few years because of that?), but have other people had experience with this?

If it's a concern, what should I be concerned about, and what kind of doctor do I need to see? GP? GYN? Endocrinologist?

In case it's not clear, I really don't welcome this breast growth. I eat basically anything (although I limit carbs, I do eat regular hormone-laden meat, cheese, and dairy -- mostly cheese, zero milk -- and small amounts of bread, fruit, and pasta). Any other tips to halt breast growth are welcome, if such things exist (other than weight loss -- I'm skinny enough)!

If necessary,
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have read that breast growth can happen when you get older.

I had something similar. My breasts were swollen, extremely tender, and huge for about 2 months straight. I thought I was pregnant - but the pregnancy test was negative. Then all of a sudden they went back down.

Talk to your doctor. Probably talk to your OB or Planned Parenthood first. Perhaps they may recommend a mammogram to check your breast tissue? Or can refer to a specialized doctor if need be.

Also a really good measurement tool for bra size here. Again, check with your doctor, wait a few months to see if they go down at all, if not time to go bra shopping.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:32 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

My boobs did most of their growing between age 21 and 26. I was on HBC but had been for years, so I don't think that was the proximal culprit. I asked my gyn about it and she was unconcerned.

I just joke that I got hit with a second wave of puberty after college.
posted by phunniemee at 8:56 PM on April 15, 2013

I've also noticed in my 30s my breasts are bigger than they were in my twenties (but not by 2-3 cup sizes). I've just put it down to hormonal changes. But if yours seem to be continually growing, rather than a monthly change, I'd go and see a doctor. The fact that both seem to be the same, rather than one changing more dramatically, should mean its a benign change but it would be good to get it checked out. This forum for women with PCOS seems to have some people asking the same question so maybe its linked?
posted by billiebee at 2:41 AM on April 16, 2013

Diet can have a huge impact on hormones and breast size. I'm about to turn 29 and went from a B to almost a D cup in a year just from doing paleo, and I otherwise lost weight. If you quit eating certain things recently, or even just started taking a multivitamin or eating more nutritious food, you may have corrected some imbalance that was keeping you from having this breast size years ago.

You might also have a hormonal imbalance because of diet that has made your breasts bigger. There's no real way for any of us to know for sure, but it may be worth asking yourself if you feel better or worse than you did a few years ago.
posted by Nattie at 3:26 AM on April 16, 2013

If it were me, I would go to an endocrinologist for this over an Ob/Gyn or GP. Although you may need a referral from your GP to see one. My basic reasoning for this is that, although I think there are probably lots of benign reasons why this is happening, the more rare and serious things (like hormone-secreting tumors) are endocrinologist territory and they'd probably be able to rule that out the most efficiently. (IANAD, IANYD.)
posted by GastrocNemesis at 4:24 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Vitamin E is suppose to help with tenderness. You might try that until you can see a doctor.
posted by stray thoughts at 6:26 AM on April 16, 2013

I am not a doctor, but I would be concerned. There are a lot of hormones in your body, and various of them affect various tissues, but there's no reason that any of them should have radically changed in your 30s (short of a radical dietary overhaul). I'd want to see an endocrinologist.

(And I sympathize with you on unwanted breast growth; pregnancy left me about 3 sizes larger than I was, and that's put me into the special-order catalogs, as well as raised my degree of unwanted ogling. meh.)
posted by acm at 7:07 AM on April 16, 2013

yes I second an endocrinologist visit if you are able - specifically because you mentioned you had prior PCOS issues. I'm inclined to think that since the change has been symmetrical that it maybe simply related to your hormones balancing out and/or something in your diet or lifestyle that has otherwise triggered this, but there's really no way to tell without getting an expert on board.

I will say this: not only can boobs grow during adult life, they can certainly do so in absence of things like pregnancy or other weirdness. I am in agreement with Nattie that sometimes diet and exercise can do strange things. I was a generous A / barely-B all my life up until last year, when I revamped my diet, went full Primal, and started lifting heavy. I grew an entire cup size to a full B. That wouldn't be so remarkable except that for me this is basically doubling my breast volume at a time in my life when I would readily expect perimenopause symptoms, not something resembling a second puberty. I am 44 years old and not only don't I have kids, I have never even been pregnant.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:27 AM on April 16, 2013

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