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What does a womans breast feel like

But rest assured, breast changes are a normal part of female anatomy. Keep in mind that breast heaviness is rarely a sign of cancer. Fibrocystic breast changes are very common. According to the Mayo Clinic, half of women experience them at some point in their lives.

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7 Signs of Healthy Breasts

Metrics details. Restoring the body as normal as possible increases quality of life. Aesthetically, almost perfect breast reconstructions can be created.

However, these reconstructed breasts have almost no sensation. Our hypothesis is that if we succeed in restoring sensation, this will increase quality of life. So far, little is written about the phenomenon of breast sensation, which makes it difficult to evaluate whether the quality of life increases after restored sensation. Therefore, the primary goal of this study is to determine what the importance and meaning is of breast sensation among healthy women.

A qualitative, descriptive phenomenological study was performed in an academic hospital between October and March A total of 10 semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted in healthy women who did not undergo prior breast surgery. Seven interrelated themes on how sensation of the breast is experienced were found: the absent breast 1 , the present breast 2 , the well-functioning breast 2a , the feminine breast 2b , the sensual breast 2c , the alien breast 2d , the safe breast 2d.

The seven interrelated themes can form the basis to develop a quantitative research tool to evaluate quality of life after innervated breast reconstruction and can be implemented in counselling before breast reconstructive surgery in the form of shared treatment decisions. Peer Review reports.

Quality of life after breast cancer treatment should be an important goal during treatment because breast cancer incidence and survival rate keeps growing due to changing lifestyle, early detection and advances in therapy [ 1 ]. Previous studies suggest that restoring the body as normal as possible after mastectomy, increases the quality of life [ 2 , 3 , 4 ].

Although excellent cosmetic results can be achieved with autologous breast reconstruction, most reconstructed breasts fail to regain sensation [ 5 ].

Technically, surgeons are able to perform a sensible nerve coaptation [ 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 ]. Currently, multiple randomized studies are on their way to provide level A evidence on the effect of nerve coaptation therefore it is not yet standard treatment. Another reason why this technique is not yet widely spread might be that the importance of breast sensation is undervalued in literature.

Some studies quantified the loss of sensation, measured by pressure on the skin, in women who underwent a breast operation [ 11 , 12 , 13 ]. Our hypothesis is that the qualitative aspect of breast sensation is important to women and if we can restore sensation of the reconstructed breast, quality of life of breast cancer survivors will improve further.

This hypothesis could assume that techniques to improve sensation of the autologous reconstructed breast, should be encouraged [ 8 ]. However, to properly restore the sensation of the reconstructed breast we should, first, understand the phenomenon of breast sensation. Therefore, the primary goal of this study is to explore the importance and meaning of sensation of the breast.

The results can be used in a follow-up study in operated women, to finally develop an evaluation tool questionnaire to evaluate the qualitative aspect of breast sensation. In the Maastricht University Medical centre a qualitative study, based on in-depth interviews was performed between October and March This study was approved by the local ethical committee project , Written informed consent was retrieved from all participants.

In total 10 interviews with healthy women who did not undergo prior breast surgery were performed. One interview was a duo interview with a couple. We used purposive sampling to interview highly educated women, to answer this research question subjects needed to be able to express themselves well. Previous research shows that age, body mass index BMI and breast size are inversely correlated to breast sensation [ 16 , 17 ]. Therefore, we created heterogeneity for these factors.

Participants were recruited through snowball sampling [ 18 ]. The in-depth interviews were semi-structured. A topic list was developed based upon brainstorming among the authors. Interviews were held at the participants house or a location of choice e.

The interviews were transcribed verbatim after which transcripts were anonymized for further analysis. Transcripts were first coded by hand, starting with descriptive open codes, like reaction of the nipple, progressing to clustering of these codes into axial codes, like sexuality and eventually themes [ 20 ]. We chose not to perform member checking.

Since, this does not increase validity and might even pose a threat to validity if participants want to correct their answers. Furthermore, our goal is not internal validity but rather comprehensiveness of the phenomenon breast sensation [ 21 ]. Segments of the data with content of disagreement were coded multiple times and discussed to create further insight to refine our coding system [ 22 ].

Our analysis focuses on different meanings of the breast, i. Most respondents were not aware of sensation in their breast during their daily life. At the beginning, it was difficult to interview healthy women about their breast sensation which was not actively sensed. Moreover, our respondents said that sensation of the breast is an unfamiliar topic in conversations among friends. Paradoxically, all women would answer yes.

Respondents who would choose for reconstructive breast surgery, if they ever needed to undergo a mastectomy, would choose for a reconstruction with sensation, if given the option.

Respondents saw it as an extra advantage and mentioned it would be strange if somebody touched their breasts and they would not be able to register this, as normally this is an intimate place to be touched.

Although, they found it very difficult to give specific examples of situations in which the lack of sensation would bother them. Mostly, the sensual sensation was mentioned to be missed, but also a feeling of security. Some respondents answered that it would make an important difference whether only one or both breasts would have no sensation.

The present breast could be present in many different ways to women. Therefore, the theme present breast was further subdivided into five themes; the well-functioning breast 2a , the feminine breast 2b , the sensual breast 2c , the alien breast 2d and the safe breast 2e.

Women were also aware of their breast sensation during breast self-examination. However, respondents did not experience this in a negative nor positive way. One respondent described it as a business act, something that had to be done without any other associations. Respondents claimed to have higher sensitivity and awareness in an intimate setting. If asked about breast sensation, all respondents who gave breastfeeding would spontaneously mention this. The sensation was described as a total different and new sensation of the breast e.

Although, for some breastfeeding was associated with unpleasant sensations of the breast e. Some women mentioned that being able to give breastfeeding would be an important factor if they had the choice about the timing of the prophylactic mastectomy, they would wait until after their family was complete.

Some women described the breast to be more sensitive in certain periods of the menstrual cycle, this was described as unpleasant but not necessarily painful.

However, they preferred not to be touched on their breasts during this period. The breast and especially the nipple-areola complex have another function, the nipple is considered an erogenous area. However, our respondents explained that touching of the nipples did not cause significant arousal and was not considered as an important erotic body part during sexual interaction.

Most respondents thought that having sensation or not in their breasts, would not influence their femininity. Whereas having breasts or not was thought to influence their femininity.

Almost all respondents named restoring the appearance of a natural looking breast as the main reason to choose for a breast reconstruction. One respondent thought she would be able to feel feminine wearing clothes and external prosthesis, however she would not feel feminine in a bathing suit or naked after a mastectomy.

The nipple is considered an erogenous area and becomes erectile during arousal. Being touched there in an intimate setting was experienced as pleasant by our respondents. However, most respondents do not think, they would miss the contributing factor of the nipple to arousal. Most women had the idea that their male partner enjoyed touching the nipple more than they did.

Most respondents did enjoy seeing their partner being aroused by their nipple. Mammography was the most named source of this feeling. But also during sports women experienced their breast as not feeling like a breast. One respondent found it paradoxical that if she would choose for a risk-reducing bilateral mastectomy and her reconstructed breasts would have no sensation, she would not feel safer at all.

However, this was the goal to undergo this operation to begin with. Another respondent compared it to having an injured ankle, to her it would be strange to have no sensation in an impaired body part, because normally sensation increases in an impaired body part and warns the body whenever there is a problem. For one respondent, this was the reason to change from an intrauterine hormonal device to oral contraceptives, in order to be able to have a menstrual cycle again.

This is to be expected according to the theory of Leder [ 29 ], generally, there is no awareness of healthy body parts, once body parts are impaired, one suddenly becomes aware of those body parts. This study shows that breasts mostly live an unnoted life, which is considered a positive thing. Our respondents stated that sensation was not needed to feel feminine, however a beautiful natural looking breast is, for our respondents this would be the main reason to choose for a reconstruction.

This is noteworthy, since in reconstruction restoring function is normally the main goal. Remarkably, our respondents described a link between appearance and sensation; if a breast loses the round shape e.

If the breasts are more present e. This emphasizes the importance of a natural looking breast after reconstruction also for the regain of sensation. The goal of mastectomy in prophylactic cases is different compared to surgery after a malignancy. To these women the information about sensation after the operation, might be even more contributing to the decision to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy. As was stated by one of our responders she would not feel safer at all after a breast reconstruction without sensation.

In women with a higher oncological risk, sensation might be even more important. However, further qualitative research in genetically predisposed women is necessary. Interestingly, the erogenous sensation does not seem to play a major role in breast sensation according to our results. Our respondents indicated that mainly their partner enjoyed their breasts during an intimate setting, however for this function erogenous sensation is not necessary.

This might be clinically relevant, because technically we are able to perform a microsurgical nerve coaptation and restore breast sensation, light touch [ 6 ]. However, restoration of erogenous sensation is rather an exception [ 10 ].

Previously, it was thought that nerve coaptation was not worthwhile if erogenous sensation could not be restored, this might be correlated to the number of female plastic surgeons, this used to be only 0. Another interesting fact, which might have clinical relevance is that some respondents indicate that having one breast with normal sensation would be sufficient.

True GUY Confession: What It Feels Like to Touch Breasts for the First Time

If your tire goes flat, a warning sign may appear on the dashboard. If your smartphone battery is low, it may send you an alert. The human body has a similar alarm system. Some signs are more subtle than others. Since early detection is key, doctors recommend that women know what these symptoms are, and learn how to spot them.

A worried mother brings her 11 year old daughter to a clinic complaining that she has noticed a hard lump behind her one nipple. There is nothing abnormal to be felt on the other side. A woman of 22 years of age complains of painful breasts every month before her period.

Today, a year-old guy remembers what it felt like to touch a woman's breasts for the very first time The first time a guy touches breasts is a very important event in his life, like his first professional baseball game or his Bar Mitzvah. I was 15 years old when I first felt a woman's breast. As a freshman in high school, I had been dating T. We had made out a few times, and the chemistry was building.

Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

Normal breast tissue often feels nodular lumpy and varies in consistency from woman to woman. Even within each individual woman, the texture of breast tissue varies at different times in her menstrual cycle, and from time to time during her life. Understanding the normal anatomy of the breast will help you to become familiar with the normal feel of your own breast, and to gain confidence in your ability to do BSE correctly; you will be able to distinguish between suspicious new lumps and ordinary breast tissue that sometimes feels lumpy. Interior Structure: Your breasts lie on top of, and are loosely attached to, the pectoral muscles on the front of your chest. Except for tiny ones in the nipples, there are no muscles within your breast; their form and structure are supported by a framework of fibrous, semi-elastic bands of tissue called Cooper's ligaments after the physician who first identified them. These ligaments partition the breasts into a honeycomb of interconnecting pockets, each containing mammary glands surrounded by lobules of fatty tissue. During breast feeding the mammary glands "milk lobes" produce milk, which is collected by a system of ducts which empty into the nipple. Your breasts are surrounded by two chains of lymph nodes — small, kidney-shaped glands that defend your body against disease and infection by filtering out invading organisms from surrounding tissues.

What are the signs of breast cancer?

The prospect of finding a lump on your breast is daunting, however getting to know your breasts and understanding which lumps are a sign of abnormality could have a huge impact on your health. Despite the fact 80 per cent of breast lumps are benign , a study, reported by ABC , found certain kinds of lumps can reveal your likelihood of developing breast cancer. Therefore, paying attention to your breasts now and recognising any lumps is important for your future health. Below are three things you should look for when examining your breasts, which may help to make clear whether any lumps you find are normal or abnormal.

But the reality is that for most of us, for most of our lives, our pair is healthy and normal. Some of us have small breasts, some have large.

Breasts change a lot over a woman's life. At some stage in their lives, many women have a change in their breast that is different to their usual hormonal changes. To be confident that your breast change is not cancer or another disease, your doctor will consider:.

7 Causes of Heavy Breasts

This routine will help you get to know how your breasts feel normally. You will then be able to notice if there are any changes, including any new or different lumps. Another great time to do an exam is the day you see your HCP for a check-up, and he or she has said that your breasts are healthy.

Breast size and shape 2. Nipple shape, size and colour 3. Uneven breasts 4. Inverted nipples 5. Hair around the nipples 6. Breast pain and tenderness 7.

What does a breast feel like? A qualitative study among healthy women

Back to Women's health. There's no right or wrong way to check your breasts. But it is important to know how your breasts usually look and feel. That way, you can spot any changes quickly and report them to your GP. Every woman's breasts are different in terms of size, shape and consistency. It's also possible for one breast to be larger than the other. Get used to how your breasts feel at different times of the month.

Normal breast tissue often feels nodular (lumpy) and varies in consistency from woman to woman. Even within each individual woman, the texture of breast tissue varies at different times in her menstrual cycle, and from time to time during her life.

In fact, boob variation is pretty typical from woman to woman. Some women just have lumpy breasts. Therese Bartholomew Bevers, M. A concerning lump may also feel different than the other lumps in your breast.

Breast Self-Exam and Cancer Risks

Metrics details. Restoring the body as normal as possible increases quality of life. Aesthetically, almost perfect breast reconstructions can be created.

How should I check my breasts?

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6 Breast Things That Are Completely Normal—and When You Should Worry

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