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 before your top surgery to improve skin health. And after surgery, you can use a Bōsm massage ritual to give yourself a breast-exam and soften your scars at all once. 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)
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.
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.
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