How Your Breasts Change With Age: Part 2

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Continued from Part 1

Breast Changes In Your 30’s

Breast changes in your 30’s may be similar to those in your 20’s, depending on your lifestyle choices and personal growth. Common changes to look for include:

  • Breast growth or reduction with pregnancy and breast feeding
  • Increased breast sagging with age (Especially in women who have naturally large breasts) The larger dense heavy breast will tend to sag at a higher rate simply due to gravity. This is increased more so with women who have very thin skin and weak ligamentous breast connections and lack support.
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Loss of tensile strength and diminished elasticity of both the skin and ligamentous fibers supporting the breast

Many women choose to bear children throughout their early 30’s, which will have a larger impact on your breast shape than age alone. With each pregnancy, your breasts swell to prepare for breastfeeding after birth. If you choose to breastfeed, your breasts will remain full until your child is no longer nursing. After that, your breasts may shrink to their pre-pregnancy size or smaller.

Breast Changes In Your 40’s

Once you reach your 40’s, a woman’s breasts go through a whole new set of transformations. The glandular tissue that holds the breasts upright will become less dense, causing the breasts to sag more over time. This is especially true after menopause. Women with larger breasts experience more significant sagging than women with smaller breasts. Common breast changes at this time include:

  • Increased breast sagging
  • Changes in breast shape and symmetry
  • Increased risk of breast cancer

Women in their 40’s should get a mammogram every 1-2 years to screen for cancer development or possibly sooner depending on individual risk factors. All women should perform frequent monthly self breast exams which will also aid in early detection. Women should continue these preventative measures and early detection for the rest of their lives.

Breast Changes In Your 50’s

At some point in this decade, you should have started or completed menopause. Most women will notice shrinking in their breasts because their milk-producing glands go away. Menopause leads to many hormonally related changes to the body. The lower hormonal levels cause the breast to have less glandular density and become more fatty. The connective breast tissue also becomes less supple and weakens. Similarly the skin in general becomes thinner and loses elasticity as well as gets stretched irreversibly with time. The most common changes that occur in a woman’s 50’s include:

  • Breasts become fattier and less firm
  • Breasts shrink in size
  • Breasts continue to sag with age and time due to weaker support and skin tissues
  • Breasts become tender and less lumpy

Women over 50 have the highest risk for breast cancer, so it is important to continue your yearly or biennial mammograms for cancer screening. Lumps on your breasts will be much more noticeable at this stage, and any lump should be addressed by a doctor right away. You may become more sensitive to mammograms as the fat content in your breasts increase, but you still need to complete your screenings as recommended by your doctor. Continue to Part 3

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