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What to Expect at Your First Mammogram

Supporting your girls with a great sports bra is important for your workouts, especially jumping plyometrics. When you hit 40, you're going to need to take photos of them too. Yep, I'm talking about a mammogram. This soft tissue x-ray is recommended annually for every woman over 40, and if you are at risk for breast cancer (if your mother or sister has had it, for instance), you start the process at 35.

The procedure is actually pretty simple and quick, but there is a lot of smooshing of breast tissue involved. So it's good to go into the process with a sense of humor and to check your modesty at the door. Here are a few pointers to make your first mammogram as pain-free as possible.

  • Do not wear deodorant, perfume, or powder. These substances can interfere with the imaging of breast tissue and even show up on the mammogram as calcifications, which can alarm the radiologist reading your mammogram, rendering more images necessary. This translates directly into more squishing.
  • Wear separates to the appointment, so you only have to take off your top and not fully disrobe.
  • If you have long hair, wear it up. This way your long locks won't interfere with the machinery and you won't accidentally have your hair pulled.
  • Avoid wearing necklaces or dangling earrings. Or simply take them off and stow them while you are having the mammogram.

A standard mammogram is four images, two per breast. If you have breast implants, double the number of images needed. At your first mammogram, sometimes extra images are needed to get a better understanding of the baseline reading of your breast tissue. At some offices, the radiologist will read the mammogram while you wait, so you get the results immediately, which seriously decreases the stress of the entire operation. However, some clinics will send the results to your primary care physician. In that case, remember to call your doc for results.

Image Source: Getty
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