Breasts have always been a distinctive symbol of femininity. In fact, in many cultures, breast size is regarded as a significant basis of attractiveness and even fertility. Due to their various shapes and sizes, the issue of the right breast size has caught the attention of men and women alike.
Health benefits of breast reduction
Some still believe that bigger is better. However studies have shown that this is not always the case. For example, breast reduction of symptomatic adults and adolescents with macromastia (big breasts) improves quality of life scores.
It has also been specifically associated with improved pulmonary function tests. Further, a recent meta-analysis suggests but does not prove that there may be benefits for women with large breasts felt related to back pain.
What is the right breast size?
In general, breast size is determined by genetics, making it distinct for every woman. And while studies have established the ideal size and proportions preferred by the majority, the way individual women feel about their actual breast size remains to be more subjective and personal than anything else.
The question remains: How do you know if you have the right breast size?
Understanding “Ideal” Breast Size
A survey of more than 2000 people pooled data from 1,000 American and 1,000 European subjects about their preferred breast size, comparing it with the standard size in their respective countries.
Results showed that approximately 60% of men and 54% of women agreed that average-sized breasts are more attractive to them. Likewise, 49% of men and 52% of women concurred that a C cup is the ideal breast size, which is close to the average breast size of women in both the United States and Europe.
Further research involving four different countries (Czech Republic, Cameroon, Namibia, and Brazil) showed an outcome that is consistent with the result of the abovementioned survey. While personal liking varies, most of the respondents remained consistent with previous studies, favoring medium-sized breasts over bigger-sized ones.
What’s the right breast size for my body?
Technically, no perfect breast size fits all women. However, there is a breast size that is (or should be) proportionate for a specific body shape. While it may be difficult to assess breast size without the help of your gynecologist or board-certified plastic surgeon, a self-examination of your actual breast can help you determine if your breast size is right for your specific body shape.
There are four standard body shapes, each with a breast size that best complements their overall body proportions.
- Apple-shaped bodies
Women with this body shape are often characterized by having a broader waist and lower body. Thus, fuller and sizable breasts are ideal to balance this shape’s proportions.
- Pear-shaped bodies
Common features of women with a pear-shaped body are their ample hips and defined waist. Moderately-sized breasts complement the full hips and waist, providing a semblance of having an hourglass-shaped body.
- Hourglass-shaped bodies –
This body shape has become a standard form of beauty and is characterized by having a proportional upper and lower body. A small-to-moderate breast size is ideal for this body shape.
- Rectangle-shaped bodies –
As its name depicts, the upper and lower body of women with this shape is uniform; it resembles the hourglass figure without a well-defined waistline. A fuller breast size complements and will add a noticeable curve to a rectangular-shaped body.
What to do if my breasts are too small or too big for my body?
If you are a woman interested in either increasing or decreasing the size of your breasts, there are various surgical and non-surgical options you can consider.
To increase the size of your breast, you can:
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Having a healthy and balanced diet can make a difference in your breast size. Food rich in estrogen such as chicken, cucumber, cherries, plums, walnuts and those rich in phytoestrogen like soybean sprouts, peaches, and cashews can help in naturally enhancing breast size and promote the growth of healthy breast tissues.
This surgical option provides the fastest results if improvement in breast size is desired. Breast augmentation involves the use of breast implants or fat grafting in increasing the size of the breasts.
If reducing your breast size is desired, you can choose to do the following:
Shed some weight
Fat is distributed across all parts of the body, including the breasts. Losing weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can be an effective method as breast fat will also be shed along with overall body fat. It will not only be healthier but also prevents premature breast ptosis or sagging.
Breast reduction surgery
Breast reduction is designed to remove excess breast tissues and fat. And to reshape the breasts into a more desirable profile. It may also be appropriate for breasts that have more dense tissues than fat. As noted above, in addition to decreasing breast size, breast reduction also has other benefits including correcting posture, balancing the symmetry of the breasts, and possibly relieving back pain.
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Myths & fallacies of breast growth
Breast exercises and massages will not enlarge the breast or enhance their firmness. While exercise may affect the muscles in the chest wall, your breast size will remain unaffected by these changes.
Since breasts do not have any muscle tissues per se, they are incapable of being developed the same way as muscles through exercises. Developing muscle mass on the chest may not contribute enough to improve overall breast size.
Related content: 6 Ways to Enhance Female Sexuality While Aging
The bottom line
Breast size has always been a standard of attractiveness when it comes to breast aesthetics. The past decades have seen both men and women favoring bigger breasts. However, this long-standing belief was challenged and disproved with the identification of the ideal breast size,
While the ideal breast size is officially determined, plastic surgeons, including myself, are reminding women that they do not need to conform to what is ideal. What’s important is how you feel about yourself and your body. True beauty comes from within. So, regardless of their size, shape, feel, or look, breasts will always be appreciated.
*A survey conducted by DrEd.com pooled data from 1,000 Americans and 1,000 Europeans about their preferred breast size, comparing it with the standard breast size in their respective countries. https://www.dred.com/uk/does-breast-size-matter.html
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This post was first published on July 6, 2018. It has been reviewed and updated for republication on April 14, 2020.
Pankaj Tiwari M.D.
Pankaj Tiwari, MD is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon serving at Midwest Breast & Aesthetic Surgery. Dr. Tiwari focuses on breast reconstruction with advanced microsurgical techniques (DIEP and GAP flaps) and the treatment of lymphedema.