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Small breasts - concerns, advice and possible treatments

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Giulia Svizzero

When it comes to breast size, it seems the grass is always greener. A recent survey across 40 countries found almost half of women wanted a larger bust. In fact, only 29 per cent of women were happy with their actual breast size.

So, if you are worried about having small breasts, you’re not alone. And if you want to do something about it, you’re in good company, with breast augmentations topping the charts as the most popular plastic surgery globally, year after year.

Find a clinic or practitioner near you today.

How do I know if I have small breasts?

There is no such thing as a standard bust size, with average measurements varying widely between women, countries, and continents. Therefore, there is no set definition of ‘small breasts’.

Internationally, the average bra size is about a US A or B cup, or an EU B cup.

We know that almost no one has perfectly symmetrical breasts (unless they have had an augmentation and even then, it’s not guaranteed) and that everyone’s look different. It’s possible for a woman with the average bust to feel like her breasts are small if she is above the average height; equally, a more petite frame might feel like a B cup is top-heavy.

Basically, size is subjective and only you know if your breasts feel small. But if your breast size is undermining your confidence in any way, there are plenty of options to explore.

What causes small breasts?

Genetics

Genetics play the biggest role in the size and shape of your breasts – both from your mother and father’s side of the family. Underdeveloped or absent breast tissue may also be caused by certain genetic conditions such as ulnar-mammary syndrome, which occurs due to mutations in a certain gene, Poland syndrome or Turner syndrome.

Age

Breast tissue growth can continue until around age 18, but breasts respond to hormonal changes throughout life, such as the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Certain medications, such as the contraceptive pill, may cause a woman’s breasts to become slightly larger temporarily. Breasts can also become smaller as you age, since lowering oestrogen levels cause breast glands to shrink. Some women develop softer breasts as they age too.

Lifestyle

A large proportion of breast tissue is made up of fat so it makes sense that your body weight will determine their size. In fact, many women claim they lose weight from their breasts first during a change in lifestyle.

Micromastia

In some cases, small breasts sit outside the window of natural variation – when breast tissue is underdeveloped or completely absent after puberty – this is a medical condition known as macromastia. Speak to a doctor if you think this might be the cause of your small breasts.

Possible solutions if you are concerned about having smaller breasts

Underwear

Padded or push up bras are an easy and affordable, albeit temporary, way to help small breasts appear larger.

Thermage

A non-invasive skin-tightening treatment, thermage may make breasts appear fuller and firmer.

Botox

A so-called Botox boob job injects Botox into the pectoral muscle, encouraging the shoulders and chest to support the breasts instead for a firmer, more uplifted look.

Fillers

Dermal fillers, often hyaluronic acid, or poly-L lactic acid-based, may be used to stimulate collagen production in the skin. The effects might include fuller breasts, and while results aren’t permanent, they could be long-lasting.

Non-surgical breast lifts

There are several non-surgical breast lift options, including Aptos threading – a skin movement technique – electrical therapy for the pectoral muscles, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments derived from your own blood.

Surgical breast lifts

A breast lift, or masoplexy, is a surgical treatment which aims to reshape small breasts. This treatment might suit someone looking for a longer-term way to change the appearance of their small breasts – by altering their shape and position on the chest – without adding volume.

Breast augmentation

Breast augmentation, better known as a boob job, is the most direct and permanent way to alter small breasts. It’s a type of surgery which places implants, or transfers fat, into the breasts.

Breast facts

  • The first silicone-implant breast augmentation operation took place in Houston, Texas in 1962.
  • In some countries, breasts are getting bigger on their own. In recent years, the average British bra size has jumped from a 34B to a 36D under the UK measurement system.

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