Breasts receive a lot of attention in our society. So naturally, girls and women are often concerned about the health and development of their breasts. It might help to ease those concerns if they understand the functions of breasts, and what makes breasts grow.
The Biology And Function Of Breasts
The main biological purpose of breasts is to produce milk to feed babies. This is done by the mammary glands. We as humans belong to the “Mammalian” class of animal – warm blooded vertebrates – more commonly known as “Mammals”. One of the main characteristics of mammals is giving birth to live offspring, which are then nourished with milk from the mother. The word “mammalian” is derived from the Latin word “mammals” which means “of the breast”.
A woman’s breasts rest against her chest wall. Pectoral muscles lie under the female breast. The breast contains lobes, and the fatty tissue covering these lobes are what lend the breast its shape and size. These lobes, in turn, contain lobules. At the end of these are milk sacs that respond to hormones by secreting milk. Milk is expelled through the nipple, via milk ducts connected to the lobules. Surrounding the nipple is the areola, which is a circular area that is typically lighter than the nipple but darker than the surrounding breast.
The Stages Of Breast Development
The word “breast” originates from the Proto-Indo-European base word “bhreus” which means “to sprout” or “to swell”. Breasts may seem merely to sprout up, but the reality is more complex. Breasts begin to form in the womb. At birth, a girl has nipples and the start of a milk-duct system. Breast development starts when she is between eight and thirteen. It begins about a year before puberty. However, it is accelerated by puberty due to the rise in hormones.
In the pre-adolescent stage, the nipple’s tip is raised. In the second stage of development, buds begin to emerge. The areola gets bigger. Glandular breast tissue forms in the third stage, which starts to make the breasts more pronounced. In the fourth stage, a second mound is created by the raised nipple and areola, increasing breast size. In the final stage, only the nipple is raised and the breast itself is rounded, and considered to have reached full adult size.
While the breasts are developing, one may be larger than the other. This is perfectly normal and should not concern a young lady. The entire breast development process takes about five years. However, for some girls, it can take as many as ten years. This process may involve tenderness, pain, or itchiness.
What Makes Breasts Grow
When a girl reaches puberty, the ovaries produce estrogen. The estrogen hormone stimulates the growth of the tissues that make up the breasts. In the connective tissue, fat collects. This makes the breasts grow bigger. Secretory glands from at the end of the milk ducts. Breasts really begin to grow about two years after a girl’s first period.
The size of breasts varies in response to fluctuating hormones. Hormones change during puberty, of course, but also during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Breasts are fully formed during pregnancy. In fact, breasts are not considered fully mature until then. During pregnancy, the hormone prolactin, which is responsible in part for milk production, causes the breasts to enlarge. After breastfeeding is stopped, the breasts usually return to their former shape and size. They may remain somewhat larger because of fat that has not been lost after the pregnancy. The breasts may also display stretch marks.
Besides estrogen and prolactin, two other hormones affect breast growth. Progesterone is produced monthly as part of the menstrual cycle, which influences the development of the milk glands. Some women use progesterone creams in hope of increasing this hormone. Growth hormone affects the whole body. This, naturally, includes the breasts. A woman has the most growth hormone during puberty. The amount begins to decline when she is around twenty-five. Growth hormone can be increased by regular, quality sleep, exercise, massage, and a well balanced diet.
At menopause, all hormone levels decline. As a result, breast tissue becomes fattier. Density decreases. Breasts become less full and firm. On the plus side, this makes mammograms easier to interpret.
From birth through puberty to menopause, a woman’s breasts undergo many changes. These changes are affected by the levels of oestrogen, prolactin, progesterone, and growth hormone. Breast growth is a highly individual phenomenon. It is worth keeping in mind that the rate of change is different for every girl and woman.
Many women who are unhappy with their breast size are now looking towards natural methods to boost their bust size. Instead of considering expensive, and possibly risky surgery. However, there is no single easy solution to achieve long-lasting breast growth. But by starting a routine that includes diet, supplements, massage, and exercises it is possible to do so.