Biological males transitioning to become women are unlikely to achieve anywhere near the breast size of an average woman, according to a 2017 study.
“In our experience, trans women have high expectations of the breast size they gain with hormone therapy,” wrote Dr. Christel de Blok, the lead author of a study on breast development in trans women. But the level of breast development is much less than often thought or hoped, de Blok said, according to Reuters.
In the study entitled “Breast Development in Transwomen After One Year of Cross-sex Hormone Therapy,” the researchers sought to determine when breast development starts and how much growth could be expected after biological males started taking sex-change hormones. They followed 229 transgenders for one year and found that after 365 days on hormones, the participants’ average difference between chest and breast circumference increased to 7.9 centimeters, with almost all of the breast growth occurring in the first six months of therapy.
At the end of a year taking hormones, nearly half of the transgender patients in the study had a bra cup size of less than AAA, roughly 8 centimeters. The rest had either an AAA cup (8 t0 10 centimeters) or AA cup (10 to 12 centimeters). Only 21 of the trans patients had a bra size of an A cup or larger after a year of hormone therapy.
As of 2013, the average breast size for American is 34DD, according to Medical Daily. The average breast size was 34B 20 years previously, but overall increases in weight as well as other factors — like breast augmentation — have contributed to the increase in average breast size.
The researchers found that breast size also varied little based on the weight of the transgender patients. Transgender patients who gained weight didn’t see a significant growth in breast size, and estrogen and hormone levels in the bloodstream also didn’t seem to have any noticeable affect on breast size either.
“We know very little about how long this process takes in trans women, and that’s one of the reasons this study is important,” said Dr. Stuart Chipkin, a researcher at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, according to Reuters.
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