For many moms, life can get really busy with work, taking care of the home, and handling many other tasks. With all these responsibilities, it's easy to forget about taking care of your own health, especially when it comes to your breasts. But the good news is, looking after your breast health doesn't have to be complicated or take up too much time. However, taking care of one's breasts doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming.
We sit down with Dr. Maria Christina Abalos, an OB-GYN from Doctor Anywhere, to provide you with valuable insights and tips on integrating breast health checks and self-care practices into your daily routine.
Making Breast Self-Exam a Habit
One of the key takeaways from our interview with Dr. Maria Christina is the importance of making breast health checks a habit, "Actually, we have this thing called a self-breast exam. Mothers, even all women 20 years old and above should practice self-breast examinations. So how do we usually do it?"
Dr. Maria Christina suggests following these steps for a self-breast examination:
Check the physical appearance: Stand in front of a mirror and observe your breasts for any dimples, abnormal discharges, lumps, or changes in size or shape. Remember, it's normal for breasts to be slightly uneven.
Examine the Sides: Move on to checking the sides of your breasts for any abnormalities.
Lying Down Examination: While lying down, use your three middle fingers to apply three levels of pressure in a circular, smooth motion, followed by an up-and-down pattern.
Check Your Nipples: Examine your nipples for any abnormal discharges.
Underarm Examination: Don't forget to palpate your underarms for any abnormal lumps or pains.
“These simple steps can help you become familiar with your breasts, making it easier to detect any changes early on,” shares Dr. Maria Christina.
Choosing the Right Bra and Support
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, choosing the right bra and proper breast support is also important. Dr. Maria Christina advises, "Actually, it's pretty basic – not too tight and not too loose, the function is just to support the lactating breast."
She recommends bras that are comfortable and provide the right level of support. Some bras are designed specifically for breastfeeding moms and come with convenient features like easy openings for nursing.
Incorporating Breast Health into Your Daily Routine
When it comes to promoting breast health through lifestyle choices, Dr. Maria Christina offers some practical advice: "If you do it as a habit, hindi ka na mahihirapan kasi madalas na ginagawa mo na ito."
Here are some lifestyle factors to consider:
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Keep your body mass index within the normal range by incorporating 30 minutes of daily exercise into your routine, such as walking.
Limit Alcohol Intake: Minimize or avoid alcohol consumption.
Eat Healthily: Focus on a diet rich in vegetables and fruits while reducing your intake of sugary foods.
Practice Breastfeeding: If possible, breastfeed your baby, as it offers numerous benefits for both you and your child.
Regular Self-Breast Exams: Develop the habit of performing self-breast examinations monthly.
Mammogram Tests: Women aged 40 and above should schedule mammogram tests annually, even if they don't experience any pain or unusual symptoms.
Quit Smoking: If you smoke, seek support to quit smoking for the sake of your overall health, including breast health.
Recognizing Breast Cancer Signs and Seeking Medical Advice
Dr. Maria Christina emphasizes the importance of regular self-breast examinations for monitoring potential signs and symptoms of breast cancer. She explains, "If you do it regularly, you can immediately monitor any potential signs and symptoms." Here are some signs to be aware of:
Changes in the physical appearance of your breasts
Abnormal skin changes
Discharge from the nipple
Lumps or pain
Puckering of the nipples
Changes in breast size
Enlarged lymph nodes in the underarms
Remember to conduct self-breast examinations three to five days after the start of your menstrual cycle, when hormonal levels are typically lower.
For our dear moms, your breast health is an important aspect of your overall well-being. By incorporating these practices and tips into your daily routine, you can stay proactive about your breast health. As Dr. Maria Christina Abalos advises, "Practices like self-breast examination and checking your breasts every month after your period should be done like a habit–you do it regularly, and then for all you know, it already becomes a part of your daily life." So, moms, prioritize your health and make breast health a regular part of your lives. Your health and peace of mind are worth it.
If you need expert medical advice and support for your breast health, you can access online video consultations with local doctors and specialists, including ob-gyns, through the Doctor Anywhere app. Download the free app now and book your appointment.