You know Mom Life is next-level hectic when escaping for a couple of hours to get a mammogram sounds like a vacation. Not that having your breasts squished by a machine is exactly anyone’s idea of a good time, but, hey, a break is a break, right? If it’s your first time getting a mammogram, you probably have a few questions about how the whole thing will go. Will it hurt? What should you wear? How long will it take? No, but really, how much is it going to hurt? Fear not, dear besties with breasties, we have the answers you seek.
Try To Schedule Your Mammogram The Week After Your Period
Your boobs get sore around your period — this isn’t news to you. So, you’ll want to keep your menstrual cycle in mind when scheduling your mammogram. Mayo Clinic recommends scheduling your mammogram the week after your period to avoid getting your boobs squished when they’re already more sensitive than usual. Also, if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant and due for a mammogram, ask your doctor about postponing your mammogram. Nobody is trying to leak milk on an X-ray machine.
Wear An Easy-To-Remove Top And Nix The Jewelry
Save the cute ‘fit for a real Me Day. To make your appointment go as smoothly as possibly, you’ll want to wear a top that makes it easy to take your ta-tas out, as you’ll need to undress from the waist up. Think a button up, a t-shirt, a hoodie with no bra underneath — your closet is your mammogram outfit oyster. You’ll also have to remove any necklaces or jewelry around your chest, so skip the bling, too. Basically, you have full permission to dress as comfy as possible.
Skip The Deodorant
Yes, really. Things like deodorant and lotion can show up on your mammogram, making it harder to read accurately. So, take a quick sink shower beforehand and consider yourself good to go. No one is there to judge you on how you smell, and you can always bring some antiperspirant with you to put on after your appointment. Even if you do show up wearing deodorant, you’ll be given a wipe to clean it off to ensure your mammogram results aren’t impacted.
If You’re Worried About Pain, You Can Take A Painkiller Beforehand
We won’t lie: a mammogram isn’t going to feel great. You won’t leave wishing you could get your boobs squished between two plates on a daily basis. But your boobs and body as a whole have been through much harder things: childbirth, breastfeeding, menstrual pain, all of 2020. Contrary to what you may have heard, the size of your boobs doesn’t guarantee more or less pain. Pain is subjective, so there isn’t really any exact way to say exactly how a mammogram will feel for you. However, most people say a mammogram feels more uncomfortable than straight-up painful. Plus, if you’re stressed about the potential pain, you can take an over-the-counter painkiller like aspirin or ibuprofen an hour before your appointment.
The Actual Compression Only Lasts A Few Seconds
The entirety of a typical mammogram takes about 20 minutes, but the actual squishing will only last a few seconds on each breast. You’ll need to hold your breath while each X-ray is taken and no one is expecting you to set any world records for holding your breath. Again, your mammogram might be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be super painful. If it is, let the technician know! Despite the fact that they’re squishing your boob between two plates, your X-ray tech is not a sadist. They want to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.
Don’t Put It Off
The truth is, one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. That’s a scary statistic, but getting screened can help assuage that fear. In the unlikely event that your mammogram comes back irregular, it’s best to know as soon as possible. Being good to your body means being proactive about preventative healthcare. So, schedule that mammogram and reward yourself with a celebratory sweet treat after the fact.
Even if you’re worried about pain or convinced you’re not high-risk, don’t put off your mammogram. A few seconds of discomfort can literally save your life.