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  2. Sex
  3. Birth control

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Does Birth Control Make Your Breasts Bigger? Flo Investigates

The birth control pill is a popular method of contraception around the world. Not only does it help prevent pregnancy, but it can also help regulate hormonal imbalances that cause uncomfortable symptoms like heavy periods, painful cramps, premenstrual syndrome, and acne. But does birth control influence breast growth?

Can birth control make your breasts bigger?

Breasts start developing in the female body during puberty, usually between the ages of eight and 13. This happens due to hormonal changes, especially estrogen and growth hormone. Estrogen, when produced by the ovaries during puberty, leads to the natural collection of fat in the connective tissues around the chest. This process enlarges the breasts. At the same time, the duct system begins to grow. After menarche (the first period) and the beginning of ovulation, secretory glands start to form and grow. Breast maturation and growth continue for several years before breasts reach their full size, usually by the end of the teenage years, in most cases. 

For adults, breast size may change with physiological changes in the body, like during the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding

Even though breasts come in all shapes and sizes (nipples do, too), some people are self-conscious about their breast size. People with large breasts may wish for smaller breasts, while people with small breasts may wish they had larger ones. Those in the latter group sometimes consider turning to birth control for bigger breasts.

The combined birth control pill is a chemical compound of estrogen and progestin — two reproductive hormones that contribute to shaping the hips and chest by changing the way fat is distributed throughout the body.

So, do birth control pills make your breasts bigger? There is some evidence to support that this might be true.

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1. Weight gain

Some people gain weight while they’re on the pill, but there’s no way to know for sure whether this is specifically because of the pill or because of other lifestyle factors. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that the pill causes weight gain, but subcutaneous fat tissues in the female body (around the hips, thighs, and breasts) contain a large number of estrogen receptors, which increases the concentration of fat in those areas.

2. Fluid retention

The estrogen in birth control pills also impacts how the body metabolizes water, which can lead to increased water retention. This could mean that swelling from increased fluid in the body could affect breast size.

So, do birth control pills make your breasts bigger? They might, but there’s no guarantee.

What birth control pill helps breast growth? 

The female body contains a unique balance of natural hormones, so the effects of hormone-based contraceptives like the pill differ from person to person. The higher the dose of hormones, the more likely someone is to experience physical side effects. 

People who take oral contraceptive pills may notice a slight increase in breast size during the 21 days of active pills, but the effects are not permanent. Even people who aren’t on the pill may notice changes in breast size depending on where they are in the menstrual cycle. During ovulation, some people notice an increased bra cup size and breasts that feel tender or sore, which happens due to water retention. 

Is it safe to use birth control solely for breast enlargement?

Although the birth control pill is considered a safe and effective method of contraception, it’s not without its risks. Some people experience unpleasant side effects from taking the pill, including: 

Since larger breasts are not always a side effect of taking birth control, it’s not a reliable method for enlarging breasts. If you’re interested in taking the birth control pill, speak to your health care provider to see if it’s right for you.

With that said, there are other ways you can change the appearance of your breasts: 

  • Practice weight lifting or strength training exercises that target the pectoral muscles in the chest.
  • Experiment with wearing different push-up bras during the day. Be sure not to wear a bra to bed, though. Rather than keeping the breasts perky and lifted, sleeping with a bra can reduce circulation to the breast tissues, cause skin irritation, and may even lead to a fungal infection.
  • Breast enlargement surgery involves having breast implants placed inside the breast, above or under the pectoral muscles. It’s worth remembering that this particular method has its drawbacks and possible complications.

Breasts are also enlarged during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Breasts may start to increase in the first trimester (around six to eight weeks) as they develop protective fat layers and milk glands. After someone has given birth, their breasts will produce milk, which will make them larger. 

We set out to investigate the question “does birth control make your breasts grow?” By now, you know that birth control may make breasts bigger for some people, but the effects are temporary and likely just a result of increased fluid retention.

“Normal Breast Development and Changes.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/normal-breast-development-and-changes.

“Does Taking the Pill Increase the Size of Your Breasts?” Does Taking the Pill Increase the Size of Your Breasts? | Go Ask Alice!, goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/does-taking-pill-increase-size-your-breasts.

Berg, Erika Gebel. “The Chemistry of the Pill.” ACS Central Science, American Chemical Society, 25 Mar. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827491/.

“Combination Birth Control Pills.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 9 Jan. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/combination-birth-control-pills/about/pac-20385282.

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