Health And Wellness

If You Spot Any Of These 7 Things On Your Breasts, It's Time To See A Doctor

Photo: Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock
woman doing breast exam in mirror

We spend a lot of time despairing over our breasts. Either we have too much to deal with or not enough. They are sweaty, not fitting into tops, need stupid bras, ugh, what a hassle! 

Very often we don't give our breasts the same TLC we give the rest of our bodies, and that needs to stop. 

Your breasts (and those precious nipples) are part of you, and as such they require care. That extends beyond your monthly self exam.

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If you spot any of these seven things on your breasts, it's time to see a doctor:

1. Newly inverted nipples

If you have always had inverted nipples, leave your poor doctor alone. But if you wake up one morning to an inverted nipple and your roommate did not viciously slap you with a cardboard poster roll the night before, then go to the doctor.

The Mayo Clinic lists this as a major indicator of breast cancer. 

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2. Breast lumps

Not all lumps are created equal. What I'm saying is should you feel a lump during the monthly self-exam you DEFINITELY ALWAYS DO, it is not necessarily cancer. Other factors can cause lumps, like a clogged duct, scar tissue, and benign cysts.

These are actually far more common than a diagnosis of breast cancer, but because you can't tell from a physical exam alone you must go see your doctor so they can run that sweet, sweet blood work. 

3. Bloody nipple discharge

This can indicate breast cancer, but it can also indicate absolutely nothing. Yeah, sometimes discharge — bloody or not — can be a side effect of a medication or a symptom of a thyroid or pituitary problem.

Regardless, get that business checked out immediately. 

4. Breast pain

There are so many different reasons your boobs hurt. Sex, your period, hormonal shifts, menopause, a bad bra, a strenuous workout, I could go on, but I won't because writing this shit out has made my own rack sore by proxy. If your soreness lasts longer than a week, get yourself checked out.

5. Red, sore nipples 

Again, a lot of things can send you straight to nipple hell. Jogging, a shitty detergent, and dry skin in the winter are all factors that can lead to chapped sore nipples. But they can also indicate Paget's disease, so best to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. 

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6. Changes in breast shape 

It's normal for your breasts to change over time. From puberty to pregnancy and breastfeeding and menopause, your tits go through a lot in their time on earth.

But if you notice an abnormal change in shape, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about it. It could actually save your life. 

7. Scaly skin around the nipple

Your boobs have feelings, and also they have eczema or psoriasis, or dermatitis. Treat them like you'd treat your everywhere-else skin and get them checked out and treated.

Your skin is an organ, ladies. Respect it.

8. Pitting, puckering, or dimpling of the breast skin 

A change like this is usually caused by scar tissue, but doctors like to check it out just to be safe.

If the boob is also hot to the touch, it could also be an infection that needs treatment. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.