Don't panic, but do be aware.
I happen to have totally uneven breasts. I mean, both are enormous, but my boobs are asymmetrical, so one is slightly less enormous than the other.
I affectionately refer to my left breast as "the big 'un", since my right is a of a more diminutive stature. Clocking in at EE and DD respectively, neither are small. That said, unless you are my bra or someone specifically hired to weigh my boobs (NOT a real job, Y'all. Don't get fooled like I got fooled), chances are you would never notice that my boobs are two different sizes. Of course, knowing this has never prevented me from full on freaking out about it from time to time.
I'm a woman. If I'm not freaking out about something regarding my appearance, the patriarchy is not doing its job.
I first noticed this quirk about my body when my breast first arrived because my mother "thankfully" pointed it out to me.
"That one looks like a kernel that hasn't popped yet," she said, gesturing to my right boob.
Time has passed, the kernel has popped, and yet my right breast refuses to grow enough in size to fully match its massive sister on the left. I guess that's boob politics in 2017 for you.
If you have two boobs that are different sizes and you're worried about it, I've got good news for you. You are 100 percent not alone.
“It is actually more common for women to have different breast shape and size than absolutely symmetrical breasts,” Dr. Jennifer Widner said. Nazanin Khakpour, M.D., F.A.C.S., a surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center, added, “They are sisters, not twins.”
If your lady lumps are asymmetrical like mine, there are a few different reasons that might apply. And the good news is that (almost) all of them are totally fine and reasonable.
Here are 5 things to know about women who have uneven breasts.
1. It's (probably) totally normal.
While humans tend to find beauty in symmetry, the truth of the matter is that most of us don't have perfectly symmetrical features. Aside from what's happening on my chest, I also have one ear that's ever so slightly higher up on my head than the other, which makes buying glasses a pain and a half.
If you notice that your boobs are different sizes, welcome to being a human being. Unless we pay a plastic surgeon to help us make it so, our bodies and physical features are almost never truly symmetrical.
2. If your mom's don't match, yours probably won't either.
To a large extent, our physical characteristics are determined by genetics. According to Sherry Ross, MD, a women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, "Uneven breasts are often inherited... If your mom and grandmother’s breasts are two different sizes, it’s likely that yours will be, too."
Keep that in mind the next time you're in a fight with your mom and you need something to yell at her about.
But don't yell at your grandmother. She's had a hard enough life as it is.
3. Gaining and losing weight can effect their size.
I know most women don't like talking about this, but it has to be acknowledged. While your breasts have things in them like milk ducts and muscle and connective tissue, they are mostly made up of good ol' fat. When you gain and lose weight, it doesn't come on or off of every single part of your body in an equally distributed way, as much as we would like it to. And guess what? Your boobs are parts of your body!
So if you gain or lose some weight, it's not going to magical disappear or redistribute itself evenly across both of your breasts. Because that's how science likes to mess with us.
4. Medical and skeletal conditions can effect them, too.
Certain medical conditions have been found to have a higher than usual correlation to asymmetrical breasts. Several studies have shown that women with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and chest deformities frequently have uneven breasts. Additionally another "condition called juvenile, or virginal, hypertrophy of the breast, is a very rare problem in which one breast grows significantly larger than the other, leading to physical and psychological problems. It is typically treated with surgery."
Before you let that scare you, remember that these medical conditions are rare and come with additional symptoms.
5. If they change suddenly, take it seriously.
Recently one women posted this image of her suddenly dimpled breast on Facebook, along with the details of what she learned that it meant.
"Yesterday I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It came as a total shock as this dimpling (in the pic) is the only symptom I had. I noticed it end of June, two days later I went to my GP who referred me to the breast clinic. I went there just over a week ago and had a scan which revealed a mass, I then had a mammogram which confirmed it so had some biopsys done the same day. I wasn't too worried as there was no lump or anything. Unfortunately it came back as breast cancer. Please check your breast regularly and don't ignore anything that is different. If I hadn't seen a post like this previously I wouldn't have known that this dimpling was a sign of cancer. Please share and raise awareness."
According to the American Cancer Society, "The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass... but breast dimpling can also be a symptom, as well as swelling of all or part of the breast, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction, redness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, and nipple discharge other than breast milk."
And it is also important to note that the "bigger the difference in breast size the bigger the risk of cancer. Women diagnosed with breast cancer have more breast size unevenness than those who don’t have the disease."
As with most things related to the health of your body, if you notice a rapid or sudden change in the size of either of your breasts, you should definitely contact your doctor. Better safe than sorry!
Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman.