If you’re a naturally large-breasted woman or are struggling with post-pregnancy upsized breasts or your bosoms have become plumper simply because you’ve gained weight, you may love the size of your assets but you’ll probably agree that they can be…inconvenient.
Contrary to what miracle cures claim, merely popping pills or using topical creams won’t help reduce breast size. Also, spot reduction is something that experts are skeptical about. However, if your breasts are swollen due to mastitis or are engorged due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, there are natural solutions that really work. The same goes for premenstrual swelling. You should also consider an overall fitness regimen to lose weight and tone up – it will help burn some fat off your girls as well.
Natural Ways To Reduce Breast Size
If PMS, lactation, or a mammary infection is causing your breasts to fill up, you can tap into the following solutions to ease some of your discomforts:
1. Premenstrual Breast Swelling
Breasts tend to swell during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Besides a feeling of fullness, you may experience tenderness and a dull heavy pain as well. Some women also say their breasts feel extremely dense and even bumpy toward the circumference. This happens because of two reasons – estrogen peaks mid-cycle causing your breast ducts to enlarge and progesterone peaks around day 21 and makes the milk glands in your breasts grow.
Here are some natural remedies for reducing breast size from swelling due to the hormonal changes of the menstrual period:1
- Cut down caffeine intake. Besides tea and coffee, that goes for chocolate too.
- Reduce intake of fatty foods. A high-fat diet has been linked to increased swelling and tenderness.
- Avoid consuming salt in the lead up to your period. Vegetables, fruits, and meats contain little salt of their own. If you avoid adding additional salt for 1 to 2 weeks before the beginning of your period, you may find that the swelling reduces. Too much salt intake causes water retention and can make breasts swell.
- Work up a sweat. Exercise can help get the blood circulation going and may ease premenstrual symptoms including swollen breasts.
2. Engorged Breasts In Lactating Mothers
Engorgement is especially a concern if you do not nurse your child and use formula milk instead, if your baby doesn’t suckle properly, or the duration you nurse is inadequate. The following natural remedies can provide you some relief. It is important to note that these methods help reduce swelling and engorgement alone and not your natural breast size.2
- Use a cold compress: Using a cold compress can relieve both pain and swelling. Make an ice pack using either crushed ice or frozen peas placed in a pillowcase, thin towel, or ziploc bag. Apply the pack to each breast for about 20 minutes at a time.
- Take a hot shower: Hot showers can relieve women with excess milk in their breasts. The warmth causes some milk to spill out through the nipples, reducing swelling and, hence, the size.
- Express some milk: You can do this using a breast pump or manually squeeze the darker brown edge of the areola. Press backward into your ribs and then squeeze your fingers and thumb to each other while rolling them forward. This usually helps reduce the feeling of fullness or largeness.
- Apply cold cabbage leaves: Chill a few cabbage leaves and apply them to your breasts to draw out excess fluid and ease the swelling. Change them every couple of hours. The coolness of the leaves also soothes the skin.3
3. Mastitis-induced Breast Inflammation
Some women experience redness, swelling, and pain due to mammary inflammation. This condition known as mastitis is common in the first couple of months after giving birth. The swollen area may feel hot to touch. Fever, chills, and aches may accompany the swelling.4
An anti-inflammatory ayurvedic remedy, turmeric is used topically to ease swelling and inflammation. In one study, a cream prepared from curcumin (an isolated component of turmeric) was applied topically to the breasts of lactating mothers who had mastitis-induced swelling. In just 72 hours they showed significant improvement in their condition.5
Weight Loss Advice For Naturally Large Breasts
If you’re overweight or obese, chances are the excess weight is causing your breasts to be larger than you’d like them to be. While spot reduction is not the most advisable solution, muscle-targeted toning exercises and yoga asanas are.
Strength Training Exercises To Reduce Breast Size
For visible results, combine cardio workouts like running, walking, aerobics, or swimming for a high-calorie burn with resistance and strength training focused on specific muscle groups.6 This will ensure you retain muscle in the chest area to keep your breasts from sagging when you lose weight.
Assuming you accommodate the recommended 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or vigorous activity every week, here are some exercises targeting the muscles that hold up the breasts.7
1. Dumbbell Chest Press
This exercise works your chest muscles. Get someone to be your “spotter” if you need help with the weights.8
- Lie down on a bench with your back to the bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- Straighten your arms upward gripping the dumbbells firmly. Keep your wrists neutral.
- Inhale as you slowly lower your hands so the dumbbells are now by the sides of your chest and close to your body.
- Press back up again to the straight position, exhaling as you straighten your elbows.
- Repeat this 10 times.
2. Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
Similar to the dumbbell chest press, but performed on an incline bench that’s between 45 and 60 degrees. This works your chest and shoulder muscles that support the breasts.9
- Lean back onto the bench with your feet flat on the floor.
- Hold dumbbells in each hand and extend your arms up so elbows are straight, remembering to exhale. The dumbbells should line up above your shoulders.
- Lower your arms bringing the dumbbells to the sides of your chest.
- Hold for a moment before pressing back up to straighten your arms, exhaling as you do so. Do this about 10 times.
3. Lying Chest Fly
This exercise targets your chest and shoulders as well.10
- Lie down on a bench, on your back, with your feet flat on the ground.
- Hold the dumbbells over your shoulders. Your elbows must be slightly bent.
- Retain the bend in the elbows as you bring the weights down so that your elbows are now level with your chest.
- Now press back up, retaining the bend. Do this about 10 times.
4. Push Ups
Good old-fashioned push ups are a great way to work those chest and shoulder muscles. They can help improve muscle tone around the breast, lifting them and reducing the feeling of heaviness.11
- Go down on all fours, feet close, with palms just a little outside of your shoulders so your body creates a straight line from your head down to your toes.
- Lower your body keeping your torso rigid and elbows bent so your chest nearly grazes the ground. Your upper arms should be angled at 45 degrees to your torso.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds before going back up to the original position. Aim to do 10 push ups at a time with a break in between to recover before the next set.
Yoga Asanas To Reduce Breast Size
As with mainstream exercise, these asanas can help you improve muscle tone which could help how your breasts feel too. However, they cannot reduce the size of the actual breast. Try the following poses:
1. Bow Pose
The dhanur asana stretches the body and strengthens the back muscles which can help those who have back problems linked to heavy or large breasts.12
- Lie flat on your stomach with feet hip-width apart. Your arms should lie at the sides of your body.
- Exhale and bend your knees reaching back with your hands and grasping your ankles. If this is strenuous, reach for your shins.
- Inhale as you lift your chest off the floor. Your legs should be pulled back and up.
- Look ahead. Focus on your breath. Your body should be curved and taut.
- Breathe and let your body relax as you hold the pose.
- Release slowly, exhaling as you do, bringing your legs then your chest back to the ground, releasing your ankles.
2. Camel Pose
Also known as ustrasana, the camel pose helps open up the chest and is good for the chest as well as overall posture.13
- Kneel on your mat with hands on your hips and knees aligned with your shoulders. The soles of your feet should face the ceiling.
- Slide the palms of your hands to your buttocks helping spread the back pelvis. Inhale drawing your tailbone to the pubis. If you find it difficult to touch your feet while also making your thighs perpendicular to the ground, twist your body a little so that only one hand rests on the side of your foot, followed by the other. You could also tilt your thighs a bit or try curling your toes under to raise yourself a little.
- Ensure your neck stays neutral throughout and you don’t strain it.
- Breathe and hold the posture.
- Exhale as you exit the pose, drawing your hands back to your front hip points as your body straightens.
3. Cow Face Pose
The gomukhasana focuses on your chest and shoulders and stretches the upper back and chest, handy for anyone carrying extra weight on their upper body.14
- Sit on the floor cross-legged so your left ankle is outside the right knee with the sole of your foot perpendicular to the ground. Your left knee and shin should be parallel to the ground at this point. Now move your right leg so that the right heel is outside of your left hip. Lift your left knee so it sits on your right. Your left foot should now be on the ground near your right hip.
- Take a strap that’s about 5 feet long to help ease yourself into the pose. Place it over your left shoulder. Extend your left arm so it’s parallel to the floor on your left. Rotate this arm in with the thumb pointing downward and palm facing back. Keep going till your thumb points back and the palm faces the ceiling.
- As you exhale, bend your elbow so your forearm is nestled in the hollow of your back and stays parallel to your waist. Move your forearm up your back until you can rest it against your spine in a vertical position. The back of your hand should now be between your shoulder blades. Not everyone can do this, so don’t worry. Hold onto the strap as far as you can go.
- Now move your right arm up to the ceiling, rotating it out so the thumb points right and the palm faces back. Next, bend the elbow and tuck the arm in close to your hand, reaching down with your right hand from your upper right shoulder until you can hold the strap.
- If you can make your hands meet, even better. Just remember not to jut your chest and ribs out when your clasp your hands. Hold and repeat on the other side.
Don’t feel overwhelmed if you feel top-heavy. With consistent exercise and a healthy diet you will achieve the shape most suitable for your body type. Perseverance and positivity are key!
|↑1||Premenstrual Breast Changes. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2||How to Relieve Breast Pain When You Don’t Breastfeed after Delivery. Alameda County Public Health Department.|
|↑3||Arora, Smriti, Manju Vatsa, and Vatsla Dadhwal. “A comparison of cabbage leaves vs. hot and cold compresses in the treatment of breast engorgement.” Indian journal of community medicine 33, no. 3 (2008): 160.|
|↑4||Mastitis. National Health Service.|
|↑5||Afshariani, Raha, Pooya Farhadi, Fariborz Ghaffarpasand, and Jamshid Roozbeh. “Effectiveness of topical curcumin for treatment of mastitis in breastfeeding women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Oman medical journal 29, no. 5 (2014): 330.|
|↑6||Targeted Fat Loss: Myth or Reality? Yale Scientific.|
|↑7||Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑8||Chest Press. American Council on Exercise.|
|↑9||Incline Chest Press. American Council on Exercise.|
|↑10||Lying Chest Fly. American Council on Exercise.|
|↑11||Push-up. Council on Exercise.|
|↑12||Bow Pose. Yoga Journal.|
|↑13||Camel Pose. Yoga Journal.|
|↑14||Work Flexibility in One of Yoga’s Oldest Poses. Yoga Journal.|