BREASTS come in all shapes and sizes with things like weight, pregnancy and exercise all playing a role.
When people refer to breast size – it usually means what size bra that person would buy.
While these might vary from store to store, bra sizes are determined by your back measurement and the measurement of your cups.
This way you are able to get underwear which both fits you well and supports your chest.
What is the average size?
In the UK, the average bra size is 36D and data shows that this has increased from 34B in the last couple of years.
In comparison to the rest of Europe, the UK has big mammary glands, with 57 per cent of women having a D cup or larger.
In Denmark 50 per cent of people have a D cup or larger.
The smallest sizes are found in China, Japan and Indonesia where an A cup is the average size.
In the US most people are a 34DD and the largest ever bra size had been found in the country with American model Chelsea Charms having 153XXX breasts, which weighed almost 25kg.
While size might be one of the most visible things when it comes to breasts, there are other things you need to know.
1. Can they change over time?
Your breast size will change with time, most people aren’t the same size now as there were when they first started puberty.
Experts at Hopkins Medicine explained that when the ovaries start to produce and release estrogen, fat in the connective tissue starts to collect.
“This causes the breasts to enlarge.
“The duct system also starts to grow. Often these breast changes happen at the same that pubic hair and armpit hair appear,” medics explained.
When it comes to size it’s all about hormones and experts say that touching or massaging them won’t help them grow bigger.
2. Is the size linked to cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and the most prevalent in women.
Experts at Cancer Research UK say that breast cancer risk is higher in women with the most dense breast tissue compared to less dense tissue.
“Women with dense breast tissue have less fat and more breast cells and connective tissue in their breasts”, they explained.
3. What conditions are associated with large breasts?
Many people want to have larger breasts, but for some that do, they can cause a myriad of health issues.
The most common condition associated with a bigger bust is back pain – as the weight of the boobs can put pressure on the back.
Some people also struggle to exercise if they have a bigger chest as the additional weight can be hard to manage.
One woman previously told how her breasts were so large that she struggled to walk.
Another woman said she felt as though she would be left permanently disabled by the crushing weight of her K cup breasts.
4. How can I change the size?
If you want to change the size of your breasts then you could get an enlargement which is classed as a cosmetic procedure and would not be done on the NHS.
If you feel your breasts are too big and you want a reduction, there are some instances as to when the NHS would carry out this operation.
This includes severe backache, shoulder or neck pain, skin irritation, rashes and skin infections under the breasts and grooves on the shoulders from bra straps.
You might also be considered if you are suffering from psychological distress such as low self-esteem or depression or you struggle to take part in sport.
5. Why does weight play a role?
Weight plays a role in breast size.
This is because fat plays a big part in breast tissue and the density of your breasts.
6. Will they change if I exercise?
If you lose weight, you might also lose weight from your breasts, meaning you have to get a smaller sized bra.
Some exercises can also change the appearance of your breasts such as pectoral exercises such as push-ups and bench presses.
While they won’t necessarily change the size of your boobs, these exercises can make them look perkier.
7. Does my period make a difference?
When you’re on your period you might experience swollen and tender breasts.
This is because your hormones change during your cycle, causing the breast ducts to grow in size.
8. Will they change if I give birth?
Around three to five days after giving birth breasts become larger.
This is down to lymphatic fluid building up in the vessels of the breasts.
At this point milk is being actively produced and filling the ducts.
It’s likely that after giving birth your breasts – especially your nipples, will become extremely sensitive.
9. How should I check my breasts?
There are five things every woman needs to know when it comes to checking your boobs for signs of cancer.
Begin by looking in a mirror, facing it with your arms on your hips and your shoulders straight.
You should be looking for any dimpling, puckering, bulging skin, redness, soreness, a rash or changes in the nipple.
Still looking in the mirror, raise both arms above your head and check for the same changes.
With your arms still above your head, check for any fluid coming from the nipples.
This can include milky, yellow or watery fluid, or blood.
While lying down use your opposite hand to check each breast. Using a few fingers, keeping them flat and together, go in a small circular motion around your breasts.
Make sure you feel the entire breast by going top to bottom in these small circles.
It helps to develop a system or pattern to make sure every inch is covered.
Use light pressure for the skin and tissue just beneath, medium pressure for the tissue in the middle of your breasts, and firm pressure to feel the tissue at the back, feeling down to your ribcage.
Feel your breasts while either standing or sitting, using the same small circular motions.
If you spot any unusual changes in your breasts then it’s important that you visit your GP.
Breast tissue reaches all the way up to your collarbone and across to your armpit, so it’s vital to check these areas too.
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