BREAST SIZE, APPEARANCE AND CHANGES OVER TIME
The size and shape of women’s breasts varies considerably.
Some women have a large amount of breast tissue, and
therefore, have large breasts. Other women have a smaller
amount of tissue with little breast fat.
Factors that may influence a woman’s
breast size include:
Volume of breast tissue
Weight loss or gain
History of pregnancies and lactation
Thickness and elasticity of the breast skin
Degree of hormonal influences on the breast
(particularly estrogen and progesterone) Menopause
A woman’s breasts are rarely balanced
(symmetrical). Usually, one breast is slightly larger or
smaller, higher or lower, or shaped differently than the
other. The size and characteristics of the nipple also vary
greater from one woman to another. In some women, the
nipples are constantly erect. In others, they will only
become erect when stimulated by cold or touch. Some women
also have inverted (turned in) nipples. Inverted nipples are
not a cause for concern unless the condition is a new
change. Since there are hair follicles around the nipple,
hair on the breast is not uncommon.
The nipple can be flat, round, or
cylindrical in shape. The color of the nipple is determined
by the thinness and pigmentation of its skin. The nipple and
areola (pigmented region surrounding the nipple) contain
specialized muscle fibers that respond to stimulation to
make the nipple erect. The areola also houses the
Montgomery’s gland that may appear as tiny, raised bumps on
the surface of the areola. The Montgomery’s gland helps
lubricate the areola. When the nipple is stimulated, the
muscle fibers will contract, the areola will pucker, and the
nipples become hard.
Breast shape and appearance undergo a
number of changes as a woman ages. In young women, the
breast skin stretches and expands as the breasts grow,
creating a rounded appearance. Young women tend to have
denser breasts (more glandular tissue) than older women.
During each menstrual cycle, breast
tissue tends to swell from changes in the body’s levels of
estrogen and progesterone. The milk glands and ducts
enlarge, and in turn, the breasts retain water. During
menstruation, breasts may temporarily feel swollen, painful,
tender, or lumpy.
The Effects of Hormones On Breast Tissues
The breast is responsive to a complex
interplay of hormones that cause the breast tissue to
develop, enlarge and produce milk. The three major hormones
affecting the breast are estrogen, progesterone and
prolactin, which cause glandular tissue in both the breast
and uterus to change during a woman's menstrual cycle.
Because of reduced hormonal levels, the breasts are less
full for 1 to 2 weeks after menstrual flow; therefore, it
may be easier to detect breast lumps during this time.
Reduction of hormonal levels is also responsible for the
breast's return to its pre-pregnant state after
breast-feeding is concluded.
Breast shape and appearance change as a
woman ages. In the young woman the breast skin is stretched
and expanded by the developing breasts. The breast in the
adolescent is usually hemispherical, rounded and equally
full in all areas. As a woman gets older, the topside of the
breast tissue settles to a lower position, the skin
stretches and the shape of the breast changes. After
menopause, with the decrease of hormonal activity, the
composition of the breast changes; the amount of glandular
tissue decreases and fat and ductal tissue become the
predominant components of the breast. Reduction in glandular
volume can result in further looseness of the breast skin.
Shapes of Breast
Breasts are the most definitive organs of a woman, and they
also lend woman with grace, beauty and tremendous
self-confidence. Actually, breasts are collections of fatty
tissues called connective tissues or adipose tissues that
are bonded by a layer of skin. The adipose
tissues are held in place
by Cooper’s ligaments. The terminal end of the breast
contains a nipple, surrounded by the areola
The color of the areola differs from
woman to woman. It can range from a bright fleshy pink to a
darker shade of brown. Also, the size of areola differs. The
areola can be so small as not to be seen behind the nipple
at all, or it may spread to a wide area around the breast,
which could be several inches across. Moreover, the size and
shape of the areola (and the entire breast) keeps changing
during the lifecycle of a woman.
What's the average women's breast size?
There have been many studies with similar results about
women's breast size increases.
According to the results of the "UK"
survey the average bra size in the UK has increased from a
34B in the 1950s to a 36C today.
Lingerie manufacturer Frederick's of
Hollywood reports that in 1996, the average size of bras
they sold was 34B. Currently, the average is a 36C. Now,
granted those who purchase lingerie from Frederick's are not
statistically representative sampling of American women.
Nonetheless, this change is extremely interesting.
According to The Penguin Atlas of
Human Sexual Behavior, breasts across Asia grew from 34A to
34C between 1980 and 2000.
There could be many reasons for the
increase in the average woman's breast size, including over
the last couple of decades the popularity of cosmetic
surgery and the breast augmentation. Couple that with the
resent advances in natural breast enlargement pills and
breast enlargement creams. So it looks like women actually
have been getting bigger as the American and for that matter
the world has grown fascinated with larger breast. Now lets
not forget the other major contributor to women's breast
getting larger and that is weight gain. With American's
becoming more over weight over the years, that I'm sure has
contributed to some of the increases in bra sizes. If your
interested in increasing your breast size we would recommend
you take a look at some of the reviews we have on natural
So how does
your bust compare to the average woman?
Other Interesting Breast Facts
D cup or larger
C Cup or larger
Types of Breasts
As faces of people are different, so also are breasts. No
two women will have identical breasts. The size and shape of
the breasts depends upon genetic factors, regionalism, diet,
climate and several other factors. Though there are several
variations of breasts, some types can be classified broadly
1. Perfect Breast
The perfect breast shape is quite a
rarity. In both medicine and esthetics, the perfect breast
shape is the one in which the nipple points outwards,
parallel to the ground. There should be no sag and the
breast should be supple and well-toned.
This shape is the one in which the
breast slightly bends inwards above the areola. There is no
sag however. Due to the bending of the breast, the nipple
points upwards, inclined to the vertical.
or plotic Breasts
Saggy breasts are commonly found in
women as their age advances. These breasts droop downwards,
causing the nipple to be pointed downwards too. Saggy
breasts may have more or little volume, depending on the
amount of fat tissues in them.
Small breasts are breasts that have very little volume of
fatty tissue in them. Small breasts also have small nipples
and areolas. There is very little substance between the
nipples and the pectoral muscles.
5. Tubular or Constricted
These are actually a defective breast shape which may be
cause due to hernia in the breast tissue. They are visible
as tubular or narrow cylindrical in shape, with very small
nipples and areolas. Their base is also small, and the two
breasts may be far apart.
These are a severe condition of tubular breasts. There are
visible anomalies in the shape of the breasts.
7. Pectus Carinatum or Pigeon Breasts
Though these are the main breast shapes
seen around, they are not in the least all. There are
several variations even in the above types of breasts. Some
abnormalities in breasts are also common. Given below are
some common abnormalities that are observed in breasts:
Many women have asymmetrical breasts. The asymmetry may
be only in the shape and size of the breast, or it may also
be seen in the shape and size of the nipple and the areola.
Some women may have hair around
Some women may have inverted
Despite these abnormalities, these
breasts are able to perform their main function, which is
lactation. Hence, the outward shape of the breast is only
for purposes of beauty, and not for physiology
Breast Sagging (PTOSIS)
breasts lose their perk with age and extremely
large-breasted women will be affected earlier and to a
certain degree. But the reasons aren’t related to ligaments
or even strictly dependent on breast size. Much more
important are inherited characteristics such as skin
elasticity and breast density which reflects the ratio of
lightweight fat to heavier glands.
There is the
tendency for older women to show sagging of the breasts. The
sagging is caused by partial deterioration of the glandular
tissues that produce firmness of the breasts and some
stretching of the tissues connecting the breasts to their
muscles. Measures may be taken earlier in life that may
prevent, or at least reduce, sagging later in life. They
include wearing supportive brassieres during pregnancy,
breast feeding, and exercising.
occurs for several different reasons - multiple pregnancies,
breast feeding, rapid weight loss, genetics, gravity and
Just as all body tissues are susceptible to the effects of
gravity over time, the breast, because it is an external
organ and not protected from external forces, also undergoes
changes over time. The connective tissues supporting the
breast are always under constant stretch due to the effects
of gravity on the weight of the breast, this effect
eventually causes the relaxation of these supporting
ligaments creating the sagging effect. Breast feeding is
another contributor to breast sagging because of the
expansion and contraction of the breast tissue over months
of breast feeding eventually results in drooping breast
changes in susceptible women. Other women may be prone to
ptosis because of changes in weight, genetics or multiple
for breasts sagging is the lack of the hormone estrogen,
which occurs at menopause. This reduction in estrogen
affects all the tissues of the body, including breast
tissue, and results in a reduction in size and fullness. The
milk secretion process is also halted by this time. Much of
the connective tissue in the breast is composed of a fibrous
protein called collagen, which needs estrogen to keep it
healthy. Without estrogen, it becomes dehydrated and loses
pregnancy and as you reach menopause - make breasts sag even
more. During pregnancy, the hormones estrogen and
progesterone, which are secreted by the ovaries and the
placenta, stimulate development of the 15 to 20 lobes of
milk-secreting glands embedded in the breast's fatty tissue.
These changes are permanent. And although the glands may be
empty after they're no longer needed to produce milk, they
will still add bulk and firmness to the breast. Once
menopause arrives, however, the drop in estrogen and
progesterone signal the breast that its milk ducts and lobes
can retire. As a result, the breasts shrinks, add fat and
begins to sag over and above the demands of gravity.
Fortunately there are three ways to prevent, and sometimes
reverse, both saggy and stretch marks breasts.
sagging occurs as a result of stretching the Cooper's
ligaments that help suspend and support the breast. Breast
ptosis can result from a loosening of the skin and
suspensory ligaments. Gravity and weight of breasts take
their toll over time. Ptosis can also come from a reduction
in the volume of breast tissue. This can occur after
pregnancy and weight loss.
One of the
reasons for sagging breasts is age! As we age, our skin ages
too. It does not hold things up as well as it did when we
were young, becasue it has lost some of its elasticity. The
older we get the less elastic our skin becomes. Thats why so
many older women have sagging breasts.
If you are a
young woman with breasts that are sagging, it may be for
several other reasons. If you are not getting enough support
from your bra or not wearing a bra at all, your breasts can
start to sag due to lack of support. This is especially true
for larger breasted women, and women who may be
participating in sports without the proper sports bra. The
third reason for the onset of sagging breasts in some
younger women is change in overall breast size after having
a baby. A woman's breasts generally become larger and
engorged with milk in preparation for breastfeeding. Once
breastfeeding is over, her breasts may not snap back.
As we age,
after pregnancy (or exposure to breast growth due to
hormones) or weight gain then loss, we experience atrophy of
the breast tissue and it's envelope. From pregnancy or
hormone-induced gain then loss -- this loss is called
involution. From weight gain, then loss -- this is from the
body losing the filling and fat which it had prior to the
weight loss. Aging is merciless and we start losing collagen
and elastin and the breast envelope begins to thin, weaken
and eventually - becomes ptotic (saggy).
After our breasts enlarge due
to pregnancy they usually shrink postpartumly. Other changes
result from having breastfed, estrogen and progesterone
supplementation in the form or shots, implants or
medications, hormonal disorders, menopause and lastly age.
As we age our skin thins, we lose breast volume due to the
shrinking of our lobules due to a decrease in hormones. We
also lose body fat in areas where we want it, and seem to
somehow selectively gain it where we do not.
Different Levels Of Sagging
certainly varying degrees of ptosis which only need certain
smaller lifts for correction and other cases which need a
full lifting. Following are the most commonly described
ptotic grades to help you better determine what you may
How to Tell
Your Degree of Ptosis
Determine your mammary crease as it is directly underneath
the breasts. These two levels may be higher than one
another. You can use a ruler if you wish it. The highest
part of the ruler should be directly against the junction of
the breast and ribcage.
If the central point of your nipple (not your
areola) is slightly above or directly in front of the top of
this ruler (your breast crease) - you may have Grade 1 ptosis. Very mild to mild ptosis usually needs only a
Mild to Moderate
If the central point of your nipple (not your areola) is 1 -
3 cm below the top of this ruler (your breast crease) you
may have Grade 2 ptosis i.e. . Mild to Moderate Ptosis.
If the central point of your nipple (including your areola)
is more than 3 cm below the top of this ruler (your breast
crease) you may have Grade 3 ptosis i.e. Severe Ptosis.
Pseudo - ptosis
Psuedo-ptosis is when your nipple is still slightly or well
above your inframammary crease but it still appears droopy
due to the presence of a significant, but somewhat
flattened, breast lobe. Usually persons with pseudo-ptosis
have smaller areola complexes which did not stretch during
the pregnancy or weight gain.
Mild Ptosis, Asymmmetry
Even though you pass the "tests" above you may still feel as
though your breasts are too low on your chest wall or that
your areolae have stretched out.
Like said above, some women's breasts actually sit on the
chest wall lower. They have no ptosis, have good volume and
a proper infra-mammary crease, BUT - the entire breast
complex is rather low on the torso.