How Your Breasts Change With Age: Part 1

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A woman’s breasts go through different stages of breast development, from as early as age 7 through the rest of her life. Breast development varies from one woman to the next, but most women go through similar experiences at different stages in their lives. Understanding how breasts develop and change will help you understand the transformation your body goes through as a whole, and it will help you see that changes such as breast sagging or breast asymmetry are completely normal to experience. Here we will discuss how breasts change with age.

Breast Development: The Early Years

By the time you are born, the nipple and the first stage of the milk duct system is formed. Women typically begin developing breasts around the age of 9 or 10. What begins as “breast buds” will soon turn into full breasts as a young woman goes through puberty and her early teen years. Some woman begin developing full breasts early on, and others take a while to “bloom.” At puberty, there is an increase in estrogen and the breast tissue responds by increasing accumulated fat. Most women’s breasts stop growing between 17-21 years of age, but there are still plenty of significant changes to come in later years.

Breast Changes In Your 20’s

After women begin menstruating and ovulating in their teen years, the breasts form various glands connected to the milk ducts. As the breasts mature throughout teen years and on to the twenties, the milk ducts and lobular system further matures. In a woman’s early 20’s, her breasts remain perky and upright, much like they were in her teen years. That is because changes in the breast structure are minor during a menstrual cycle. The breasts have typically reached their final size by this point in life. With that in mind, most women experience some sort of breast changes in this decade due to changes in their lives as a whole. Common breast changes in your 20’s include:

All of these fluctuations in weight and changes with breast feeding can overstretch and expand your skin envelope while the amount of breast tissue remains the same. This can lead to sagging because there may be extra skin that does not recoil completely back to its original thickness, thinner skin, and sagging due to laxity of the skin and less breast tissue. In addition, all of the lobules increased in size and number to create and transport milk. When lactation is over, the breast involutes and what is left is stretched out tissue, breast ligaments, and breast ductal system. Sometimes women have more tissue (typically on the left) and that breast may be more responsive and effected by hormonal changes to a varying degree and lead to more pronounced asymmetry. The severity of these changes is multifactorial and will depend on your:

  • weight fluctuations
  • skin elasticity and recoil
  • tissue tensile strength
  • lifestyle
  • individual breast tissue growth and development response to hormonal change
  • genetic makeup of your breast tissue and the skin envelope
  • whether or not one breast feeds and how frequently the milk is expressed

In general there are a few things you can do to minimize the degree of change: Always maintain a healthy weight – avoid gaining then losing weight , with the fluctuations your skin may stretch and stay stretched even after weight loss. Similarly while pregnant follow your doctors guidance and avoid drastic weight fluctuations despite the hormonal drive to overeat. If you have large heavy breasts or while breast feeding maintain a supportive bra to take the weight of the tissues off your skin and minimize the stretching of it. Most importantly recognize that most women have mild asymmetry and everyone responds the same to Mother natures gravitational pull which leads to some sagging with age. If you feel uncomfortable with the amount of sag or emptiness of your breasts and want to improve them, schedule a complimentary consultation and we can discuss your individual unique changes, anatomy, and determine if a breast lift or breast augmentation in Michigan is right for you. Continue to Part 2

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