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Even if you’ve never had veiny breasts, they can… well, emerge. You may think it’s only common to have veiny breasts while breastfeeding, but there are other conditions that can cause veins to become visible on your breasts.
Many of these conditions are nothing to worry about, but it’s still a good idea to put your best boob forward and know what’s normal — and what may warrant a trip to the doc.
We all have veins in our breasts, but if yours are suddenly more visible, there may be a reason why beyond just having fair skin.
1. Early pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, there are tons of funky things going on in your body — and that may include some odd stuff going on with your breasts.
According to the American Heart Association, your breasts may become veiny during early pregnancy because, at this time, veins become more visible as blood volume increases up to about 50 percent.
Veins may also appear more pronounced because they are responsible for carrying blood, nutrients, and oxygen to your developing fetus.
After giving birth, the veiny appearance generally decreases. But if you breastfeed, it will persist.
Your breasts change while you’re pregnant. If you choose to breastfeed, those changes keep on coming.
Seeing more veins on your breasts is very common while breastfeeding. These veins are more pronounced when breasts are engorged with milk. After all, there’s a lot of action going on in your breasts during lactation.
Mastitis can be super uncomfortable, but it’s treatable with oral antibiotics. Your doctor will need to examine your breasts to make an official diagnosis.
3. Tight bras
In addition to all the other painful things that can happen from wearing a tight bra, doing so may make your veins more visible. Make sure you’re not squeezing your boobs into a bra that’s just too small or tight.
4. Breast surgery
One of the not-so-perky perks of breast augmentation is that it can cause veins in the breast to be more visible. A 2009 study found that participants’ veins became visible almost universally following breast surgery. But the study noted that most people didn’t notice or didn’t find it to be a big issue.
5. Weight gain or weight loss
If you’ve gained a few pounds, especially in your breasts, it could cause veins to appear more easily. Veins may also appear if you have larger breasts.
Conversely, losing weight could remove some fat in your breasts that makes veins less visible. As a result, veins may show up more from losing weight.
6. Hormones and PMS
Hormonal shifts can affect your body, including your breasts. Specifically, hormones from having your period can shift your breast size, so they may swell and feel tender.
The swelling increases blood flow in the area, so you may see veins as a result. Yes, veiny breasts are a PMS symptom in some women.
Any time you get the blood flowing to the area by creating heat, you may see blood vessels or veins. So, don’t be alarmed if you spot some veins on your breasts after a good sweat fest. Just note the changes if you think they’re serious and talk to your doc.
Your skin becomes thinner, more crepe-like, and gets prone to bruising with age, which is another reason why your once-perky breasts may not be so perky — and may also look a little veiny. This is known as dermatoporosis.
In short, if you’ve got a new vein that’s visible, you should ask your doctor. Having your doctor note any concerns and regularly perform breast exams are good ways to catch any changes.
9. Varicose or spider veins
Varicose veins show up due to weak vein valves that cause blood to pool in the vessels. They look swollen, can pop out, and be quite painful. Spider veins are the less severe version of varicose veins. Again, neither are likely to appear on your breasts.
10. Mondor’s disease
Mondor’s disease, aka superficial thrombophlebitis, could also be to blame for an increased appearance of veins on your breasts.
This noncancerous condition is rare and can happen to men and women. But it’s more common in women. It occurs when a vein in the breast or chest wall becomes inflamed, making it more visible.
Mondor’s disease tends to go away on its own, but may be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs or a warm compress.
11. Pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia
Pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia, or PASH, can lead to a vein becoming more visible. This condition is also common with a palpable lump and other symptoms that mimic breast cancer.
A surgical biopsy helps determine whether the lump is PASH or cancer. Following the biopsy, the doctor will evaluate cells to make a diagnosis.
Yes, having a veiny breast could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. This form of breast cancer is marked by visible changes on your breast skin, including your breast’s shape or size, skin texture, or skin that feels hot to the touch.
Veins can grow in the area, which is why keeping an eye on veiny breasts is important. Veiny breasts can be serious, so you should note any changes and call your doctor immediately if something new pops up.
Depending on the cause, it might just go away on its own anyway. But let’s say you’re not thrilled that you have veiny breasts, your doc has confirmed that there’s nothing to worry about, and you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding.
There are professional treatment options available from cosmetic and plastic surgeons like:
- Laser treatments: Treatments like endovenous laser therapy can help shrink or destroy certain veins.
- Sclerotherapy: This involves getting injections to shrink the veins.
- Radiofrequency ablation: This treatment is also known as rhizotomy. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that involves heating up an area and targeting the nerves to stop or lower pain transmission.
Doctors also generally suggest maintaining overall health, which includes exercise, so that blood is moving well through the veins. Unfortunately, if you’re preggers or breastfeeding, there’s nothing you can do for veiny breasts besides wait it out.
Let’s not get it twisted: The goal is not to eliminate veins in your breasts because, you know, you need them. But you may want to prevent or reduce the appearance of veins on your breasts.
If you do not become pregnant or breastfeed, your chances of having to Google veiny breasts may be lower. Other than that, stay healthy to ensure proper blood flow throughout your body.
Notice this? Call a doctor ASAP
Remember, anything painful, lumpy, or accompanied by a fever could be a sign that something else is up. If you have any concerns about breast changes, call your healthcare provider.
Veiny arms may be nice if you’re a weightlifter, but highly visible veins on your breasts could make you a little self-conscious.
Most of the time, you’ll notice more veins if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have experienced weight and hormonal changes. A recent breast surgery or age could also be factors.
If you notice any new veins or have any concerns, keep track of your changes and call your doctor — especially if you’ve got a fever or a new lump.
These changes are usually benign, but it’s not always easy to differentiate them from cancer by yourself. It’s always a good idea to see a doctor, just in case.