Taking Care of Your Bosom when Transitioning  

Our culture puts so much emphasis on breasts as a symbol of gender. For people who experience gender dysphoria, their breasts can be a source of pain or discomfort. And when trans people face disproportionate amounts of stigma and violence, the decision to transition their breasts can be an intensely personal one. 

There are several ways that trans and non-binary people may transition their breasts, from chest binding to top surgery. Some people chose to leave their breasts as they are while transitioning. No method is more valid than any other, and however people choose to transition should be respected. 

No matter what decision is right for you, Bōsm provides the education and loving support for all stages of your breast health journey. 

We’ve put together this guide for taking care of your bosom when transitioning. 

If You’re Considering Top Surgery

Top surgery can be a life changing (and life saving) procedure for trans and non-binary people. Top surgery could either be breast augmentation or chest masculinization, and it’s the most common gender affirming procedure. 

Trans people often report getting top surgery can help them feel safer and more at home in their bodies, and the procedure can relieve feelings of gender dysphoria. But like any surgical procedure, top surgery has potential risks and drawbacks. 

Depending on the type of top surgery a patient receives, their nipples may have to be grafted and repositioned. If the nerve endings have been detached, the patient may lose sensation in the nipples and the skin around it. Chest masculinization procedures will also result in scars. 

Like any other procedure that involves anesthesia, there are all the general risks of surgery. However, top surgery is often a celebratory milestone for trans and non-binary people. 

Taking Care of Your Bosom Before and After Top Surgery

Regular self-breast exams are a crucial part of staying healthy, both before and after top surgery. It may not seem logical, but there is still a risk for people who have had their breasts removed to develop breast cancer. There isn’t a wealth of research on the subject, but trans men and non-binary people who have had chest masculinization procedures have a higher risk of breast cancer than cis-men, but a lower risk than cis-women. (3)

You can give yourself a self-breast exam, while also using a product like Bōsm’s Pure Breast Serum, which has sesame oil, a nourishing moisturizer that has been shown to reduce scar tissue and improve skin elasticity. Surgeons report that patients with better skin elasticity may have better outcomes for healed scars.

You can use a castor-oil based product such as Bōsm Breast Serum before your top surgery to improve skin health. And after surgery, you can use a Bōsm Breast Serum and massage ritual to soften your scars. The massage also promotes a healthy lymphatic system and the drainage of toxins. 

Chest Binding Risks and Safety

Chest binding or breast binding is the practice of using materials to flatten the chest. Commonly used materials include elastic bandages, duct-tape, plastic wrap, layers of shirts, compression shirts, sports bras, and custom-designed binders for this specific purpose.

Chest binding can reduce gender dysmorphia and improve mental health, but it does come with some medical risks.

Long-term binding can cause skin problems, like rashes, infection, itching, swelling, and scarring. It can also cause pain in the chest, shoulders, and back. (1,2)

In more extreme cases, binding can lead to respiratory problems, like shortness of breath, or problems with the musculoskeletal system, like rib fractures, changes in posture, and muscle wasting. (1,2)

Binding can also impact the circulatory and lymphatic systems, stalling the necessary flow of blood throughout the chest and the rest of the body. Since the lymphatic system is responsible for moving toxins throughout the body, any practice that causes stagnation in the lymphatic system can lead to negative health outcomes. Some even suspect that restricting the bosom for too long could put you at risk for breast cancer.

At Bōsm, we understand why breast binding may be a necessary practice and support you in doing what’s best for you. But we also strongly encourage you to work a breast massage into your self-care rituals and to use products like Bōsm Breast Serum that counteract the harshness of breast binding. 

Taking Care of Your Bosom When Breast Binding

A lymphatic massage is a great way to undo some of the problems associated with chest binding. Gently massaging your bosom after chest binding can restore essential blood flow, and stimulate the lymphatic system to resume it's vital function of moving toxins throughout your lymphatic system.

With our specially formulated Breast Health Oil, you’ll be receiving all the benefits of castor oil, which has been known to alleviate pain, break up and heal scar tissue, and support the lymphatic, circulatory, and immune systems. 

This simple ritual is a powerful preventative medicine and a great way of reversing some of the negative side effects of breast binding.

Hormone Therapy

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people opt to undergo hormone therapy when transitioning. For many of the same reasons that someone would get a chest masculinization procedure, hormone therapy can help ease symptoms of gender dysphoria and bring about many mental health benefits. 

Hormone therapy can involve extrogenous estrogen, with the goal of helping transgender women and nonbinary people grow breasts and soften breast tissue. This process can be very taxing on the body, as high levels of estrogen can be toxic in the body and increase risks of breast cancer. 

It’s important to remediate the stress of hormone therapy. One way to do that is through breast massage with Bōsm’s Breast Serum. Our serum is formulated with primrose oil, which can help discharge the excess estrogen in the breast tissue. When paired with lymphatic massage, this can be a powerful self-care ritual to help with the mental and emotional effects many people experience on steroids. 

Healing at Every Stage

No matter where you’re at in your breast health journey, the power of a self-massage ritual is real. It reminds us that our bodies are our own and no one else’s. It reminds us that are bodies are strong, capable of healing, and worthy of our time and care.

References:

  • Peitzmeier S, Gardner I, Weinand J, Corbet A, Acevedo K. Health impact of chest binding among transgender adults: a community-engaged, cross-sectional study. Cult Health Sex. 2017 Jan;19(1):64-75.
  • Jarrett BA, Corbet AL, Gardner IH, Weinand JD, Peitzmeier SM. Chest binding and care seeking among transmasculine adults: a cross-sectional study. Transgend Health. 2018 Dec 14;3(1):170-
  • Ray, Laurie. “What Trans Men and Nonbinary People Need to Know about Breast Cancer.” Clue, 31 May 2019.