Breast in women is made up of milk glands, fat cells, milk ducts, and connective tissue. Breast does not contain muscles and therefore its growth is influenced by many other factors. Even though the initial growth of breast begins during puberty in women, several other circumstances determine its growth and size during her life.
This includes pregnancy, weight gain and weight loss, age, menstruation, menopause. Women should know the symptoms of her growing breast and its physiological and anatomical relation in order to recognize if any abnormality arises.
Structure And Function Of Breasts
Breast is a bilateral exocrine gland present only in mammals.It is an important structure present in front of the chest wall in humans. Breast is present in both; males and females. But it is rudimentary organ in males, whereas in females, breast starts growing when a girl reaches her puberty.
Breast is a modified sweat gland and it is an important accessory organ of female reproductive system. In females, breast secretes milk for providing nutrition to the newborn child. It is also a gland for sexual stimulation.
On the center of breast lies a circular pigmented skin area called areola. It is about 1 inch in diameter.Nipple is an elevated skin structure at the center of areola. It consists of several tiny ducts through which milk is let out. Nipple gets erected on stimulation. The nipple and areola widely vary in their size and appearance amongst healthy women.
Symptoms Of Growing Breasts
After knowing brief anatomical structure of breast, every girl and woman should be aware of the symptoms of growing breast.
Growth of breast in women begins during puberty. It is during this period the ovary becomes active and produces hormones called estrogen and progesterone. Both these hormones play an important role in deposition of fat in breast tissue. The milk ducts also begin to grow during puberty; they also enlarge the size of breast. Normally the breast starts growing one or two years before the appearance of first menses. Many girls complain of breast pain during its primary growth.
During menses, the breast slightly increases in its size and this is due to hormonal change that occurs during menses. The milk glands also retain water and swell during menses and this makes the breast swell for few days. Some women may feel tenderness and pain in breast during menstruation.
Breast Growth In Pregnancy And Menopause
During pregnancy, breasts are maximally developed structures. Human placental lactogen, along with estrogen and progesterone and maternal prolactin promote the milk duct system to grow rapidly, although lactation is absent. Fat gets deposited and there is prominence of blood vessels due to increase in blood flow. In fair women, there are prominent green veins on the breast skin. The color of areola and nipple become dark. Due to fast growth of breast during pregnancy, the tissue underneath the breast skin may get torn and small white finger like scars may develop. They are known as stretch marks.
During menopause the estrogen production is drastically reduced. Since estrogen has greater influence in growth of breast, its reduction can affect the growth and size of breast. However, post menopause many women say that their breast has increased at least by a cup size. This may have two reasons, first after menopause, fat is difficult to get rid of especially from breast and abdomen. Secondly weight gain is common after menopause, and this may cause deposition of fat in breast and growth in its size. Since breast growth is highly dependent on hormonal fluctuations, a woman in her menopausal age or after menopause may experience emotional disturbances, anxiety, irritation etc. But in most cases they are mild and do not cause any deterioration in health.