7 Changes In Your Breasts That Can Be A Sign Of A Greater Health Condition

When most women think about their boobs, they might not be thinking about what they can indicate about your overall health. But paying attention to what your breasts say about health is important, as there are a number of different things that can happen to your boobs that can indicate a greater health condition. Although it's true that your boobs can go through many changes that are completely innocent or harmless, there are a number of symptoms you should watch out for, just in case.

Paying attention to any changes in your boobs could have major repercussions for your health, gynecologist Tami Prince, M.D. tells Bustle. "You should know what your breasts look and feel like normally so that you can identify any changes that may occur in a timely fashion. Sometimes these changes can be benign, but other times they can be very serious. Either way, any changes that occur out of the norm should prompt a visit to the OB/GYN."

And if you do notice any differences that seem out of the ordinary, your OB/GYN can help you figure out the next steps for your health. Here are seven things that can happen to your boobs that are a sign of a greater health condition, according to experts.

1Nipple Discharge

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Any discharge that is spontaneous, persistent, not associated with breastfeeding or pregnancy, or that arises from one duct in the breast should get checked out. "Discharge may be the result of medications, infection, chronic medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, benign breast lesion, and cancer," says Dr. Prince. If you notice any unexplained discharge, talk with your OB/GYN about what may be going on.

2Dimpling

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In order to spot dimpling in your boobs, it's important to be aware of the typical appearance of your breasts. "Normal breasts have a smooth appearance," says Dr. Prince. "If dimpling is seen, this can be a sign of a more serious condition. Dimpling can be due to benign causes such as fat necrosis (typically due to breast trauma which damages fatty tissue) and scar tissue. Dimpling can also be due to malignancy. Malignant tumors when enlarging and spreading can pull on breast tissue causing dimpling." While there is no need to panic right away, your OB/GYN can offer you a more concrete diagnosis.

3Inverted Nipple

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Inverted nipples, also known as nipple retraction, can be harmless, but they can also indicate something serious. "Although many women are born with inverted nipples of one or both breasts, it can also be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, especially if the breast is also bright red," breast reconstruction expert Dr. Constance Chen tells Bustle. Once again, the best way to tell is by going to your doctor.

4Eczema

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Be sure to get yourself checked out if you have persistent eczema on your nipples. "Chronic history of eczema changes on the nipple with occasional nipple discharge and crusting may be due to Paget’s disease, which is associated with malignancy," says Dr. Prince. "Diagnosis is usually delayed, as women may be self-diagnosing and using over the counter medications."

5Lumps

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Healthy boobs can feel lumpy in some women, which is again why it’s important for a woman to know what their boobs feel like normally. If a single lump is felt, however, it needs to be evaluated. "A painless breast lump can be a sign of breast cancer," says Dr. Chen. "It can be diagnosed via breast self-exam. If you feel a breast lump, you should see your doctor for a mammogram — even if you are very young."

6Bleeding

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Blood coming from your nipples is a symptom that should not be ignored. "If you are able to express blood from your nipples, you should see a doctor immediately," says Dr. Chen. "The most common cause of bloody nipple discharge is intraductal papilloma, which is not cancer. But bloody nipple discharge can also signify breast cancer, especially if you also have a lump in your breast."

7Swelling

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A red, swollen, and tender breast may be a sign of Inflammatory Breast Cancer. "Inflammatory Breast Cancer is a rare type of breast cancer that develops rapidly and makes the affected breast red, swollen, and tender. It can be confused with a breast infection, which should also be seen by a doctor."

Even though not all boob changes mean you have something wrong with your health, it's always best to see a doctor if you notice some unlikely any changes.