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Bygone Days, Barbie Boobs and Breast Boosters

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I was looking at old photos the other day, remembering days spent with my girlfriends dreaming about the future. As adolescents, our first topic of interest was boys, naturally, but we also wondered what we could do to look like the fashion models and movie stars we envied. In particular, we longed for Barbie boobs. Out came the socks and toilet paper for stuffing, and the old chant, “We must, we must, we must build up the bust!” Anything we could think of to bring on the curves, anything!

This nostalgia sent me poking around the Internet to see how things may have changed since then. I was surprised to find the options for “natural breast enhancement” (read: “without surgery”) going strong. In fact, if you look around you’ll find there are more ways to boost your boobs than ever, given that today you can even purchase breast enhancement gum on line. Gum—I kid you not!

As a youngster I remember seeing magazine articles about increasing the size of your breasts through exercise. That seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I know that breasts are made up of milk ducts and fat—not the sort of tissues that are influenced by exercise. Of course strength-building activities are great for keeping muscles toned. But they won’t increase cup size, no matter how many articles are out there advocating push-ups and other moves to “promote the growth of the breast area.”

When I was a kid I also noticed ads for “miracle” creams and wondered if they worked. Even then I couldn’t figure out how something you rub on your skin could make your breasts larger. Well, turns out I was more right about your average topical treatment. Forget about it.

Pills and the infamous gum are a different story. Though there’s no solid evidence that they work, experts say they could possibly have a slight breast enhancing effect for some women. That’s because the touted “natural herbal extracts” and “ingredients used for centuries” have an estrogen-like effect on the body. One of my favorite references, www.mayoclinic.com, suggests that the use of these products may increase the risk of certain gynecologic cancers and may interfere with other medications.

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HERWriter Guide

I saw a documentary on women who used various methods to increase their breast size. One woman used one of those pumps constantly and after a couple of months, noticed a slight increase (they may have been simply swollen from all that pumping) but it completely disappeared once she stopped using the pump.
None of the pills worked, of course, and I never heard of chewing gum to get a bigger breast size! How do these people get away with selling this stuff??

One thing I'd like to say is that within five years of becoming vegetarian, I went from a natural C to a natural D and have remained this way, despite kids, breastfeeding or any other variable. My weight has also been pretty stable. My husband truly believes this is due to possible estrogen properties due to the soy I eat. I also think this may have validity.


July 11, 2009 - 11:34am
(reply to Susan Cody)

How interesting.... I bet your husband is right.

July 11, 2009 - 10:40pm

Yes, great article. A good friend of mine once went through the agony of having breast implants only to find out afterwards that they were defective. She had them removed and replaced and then was unhappy with their size. She had yet another surgery, but as a consequence of these surgeries, she's experienced a lot of damage to her breast tissue and skin. So when these current implants need to be replaced in a few years, she doesn't know what she's going to do.

I think a lot of women don't think about the fact that they'll most likely need a future surgery or more when they get breast implants.

July 11, 2009 - 11:28am
EmpowHER Guest

Awesome article!! So glad you're shedding light on all of the so-called miracle creams and other rip-offs. The breast pump you mentioned cracks me up! I don't know who would ever want to resort to that.

July 11, 2009 - 11:19am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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