Stretch marks are mostly associated with abdominal and leg skin. However, stretch marks can also appear on a person's breasts. If you notice stretch marks on your breasts, there is no cause for alarm; this is actually fairly common. Breast stretch marks can be the result of a many different factors, but stretch marks rarely mean you have any disease or irregular condition.
Breast stretch marks are typically the result of rapid changes in breast size. Breasts are composed of mostly fatty tissue, and increased calorie consumption can make breasts grow larger. Weight-related breast increase is more common in women, but it can occur in men as well. If you have gained weight recently, your breast stretch marks were likely caused by this. Even after losing excess weight, some evidence of the stretch marks will always remain, but they will become fainter and less noticeable.
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Pregnancy and Birth Control
During pregnancy, a woman's breasts grow, and they remain engorged after childbirth for as long as the mother is actively breast-feeding the infant. Many forms of prescription birth control cause a woman's body to react as if she were pregnant, so breast increase is common. Breast increases associated with childbearing often occur quickly, leading to stretch marks as the skin expands.
Preteens and teenagers may notice increased stretch marks on the breasts. This simply means that the individual is going through the normal process of puberty. Growth spurts associated with puberty can cause changes in breast size, and breast development also occurs independently of growth spurts in girls. According to the United Kingdom's National Health Service, seven out of 10 girls experience stretch marks during puberty.
Hydration and Exercise
Most breast stretch marks occur from increased breast size. However, in certain cases breasts can develop stretch marks from dehydration and lack of exercise. According to a Fox News report by Dr. Neil Sadick, a well-hydrated person has softer skin, which is less likely to develop stretch marks. Furthermore, daily exercise will help naturally condition skin and free your body of toxins. If you notice sudden stretch marks without noticeable breast size increase, then you may want to reevaluate your daily water intake and exercise regimen.
Cushing's Syndrome can also cause stretch marks without rapid increase in breast size. According to MayoClinic.com, Cushing's Syndrome develops when your body over-produces a hormone called cortisol, or when over-using corticosteroid medications. With excess cortisol content, your body will develop dark pink and purple stretch marks. Cushing's Syndrome also causes high blood pressure, bone loss and diabetes. Cushing's Syndrome is treatable with surgery or radiation, and stretch marks will fade after treatment. Most stretch marks are not the result of Cushing's Syndrome, but consult a doctor for testing if you are concerned.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.