Seeking a bigger bosom without surgery

Dear Alice,

Is there any way to make your breasts bigger without surgery? I heard that you can take pills but I don't know the side effects or if it even works. What are the bad things that could happen if I took the pills to get bigger breasts?

Dear Reader,

Looking for a bigger bosom? You’re not alone. There’s a tremendous amount of societal pressure for women and girls to look a certain way — to be thin, have little body hair, no wrinkles, no gray hair, and, as you’ve mentioned, have large breasts. This external pressure is just something to keep in mind as you explore your options. Now, back to the topic at hand…

While there are a few ways to achieve a bigger bust without surgery (and we will soon get to those), take note that there are a number of advertised pills and herbal supplements on the market, most of which are unregulated, haven’t been shown to work, and could be harmful. In terms of side effects, there are between 20 and 30 different herbal supplements alone that claim to enhance breast size, but no empirical research or medical trials have been conducted. So, it’s difficult to know the side effects, let alone justify the claims of these products. If you do decide to go this route, it’s recommended you speak with your health care provider prior to starting — herbal supplements can interact with other medications you are taking and have additional side effects, of which your provider may know more about. Besides herbal supplements, there are a few additional non-surgical methods. These include:

  • Fat grafting. A procedure that has been used for many years, but for other purposes. Fat grafting involves the liposuction of fat from one site of the body and its sequential reinjection into the target site. Fat grafting for breast enlargement isn’t always successful. This is because the amount of fat that can be grafted varies from person to person, as do survival rates of the transferred fat.
  • The BRAVA breast enhancement system. The BRAVA technique involves placing large suction cups on the breasts and using a small vacuum to boost breast size overtime. The issue with BRAVA is that it must be used for 10 to 12 hours per day for three or more months to get maximum results. Research has found that using this method in conjunction with the fat grafting technique has demonstrated significantly superior results to either method alone. When patients use the BRAVA technique before and after the fat grafting procedure, breast enhancement nearly doubles that of grafting alone.
  • Non-animal stabilized hyaluronic acid (NASHA)-based gel injection. In this procedure, NASHA-based gel is injected into the breast, just as fat is injected into the breast during the fat grafting procedure. While this method has been safely used in facial and other reconstructive surgeries for years, researchers are still investigating the safety and effectiveness of its use for increasing breast size. One benefit (or drawback, depending on how you see it) of this procedure is that the gel degrades naturally after 6 to 12 months, which gives the patient an opportunity to decide whether to maintain increased breast size. There have been no documented serious inflammatory reactions or adverse events related to this procedure thus far.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that certain prescription medications such as estrogen, birth control pills, and antidepressants may cause increased breast size as a side effect. However, this side effect varies from woman to woman and an increase of breast size isn’t the intended purpose of the drug. Taking any of these medications for the purpose of increasing breast size is not recommended.

Prior to pursuing any treatment, you may want to explore this issue a little more. The above procedures are costly and, as with any medical procedure, may cause side effects. It may be helpful to consider the following questions prior to taking the plunge: What are some of the reasons you want bigger breasts? Are there other parts of your body you would like to change? Do you feel pressure to look a certain way? If so, where is that pressure coming from? If you’re still struggling with your decision, you may want to chat with a counselor.

Betting your breasts are already beautiful,

Last updated Feb 26, 2015
Originally published Sep 27, 2013

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