Mammals are distinguished and so called, because they are provided with mammary glands. Men and women develop breast from birth on right and left side of their chest. Breasts appear similar in boys and girls till certain age, after which breast enlarges in size in females. This is due to the dominant estrogen hormone in females. Female breast become far more prominent than men, as they contain milk glands that secrete milk, which is used to nurse the infant. In man the higher level of male hormone testosterone does not allow the growth of breast.
Puberty is that stage of life where a girl transforms herself to womanhood. The stage is quite embarrassing and frightening for a girl child, as she does not know how to deal with the situation. She may experience several changes in her body such as growth of pubic hairs, breast enlargement and menstruation. It is during this period her mother makes her understand the importance of breast development stages and the function of breasts.
Stages Of Breast Development In Girls
A newborn child has infantile breast tissue with small areola and nipple. The two important developmental stages for female breast are puberty and pregnancy. In fact the earliest sign of puberty in female is the period when her breast begins to enlarge; growth of pubic hairs is another sign. In medical science the development of breast in a girl is divided in 5 stages, it is also called Tanner stage. It may start even before the girl does not know the obvious changes taking place in her breast. At times, a girl may experience pain in her breast during the physiological changes taking place in her breast. However, she has to pass though the normal body process.
Stage 1: girl below 10 years: the stage is considered as preadolescence age. In this stage there is no development or enlargement of breast. Only the tip of nipple is slightly raised. The tip appears as brown bud, but there is no prominence. It is after the stage 1, a girl child experiences enlargement of her breast while in boys there is no change observed throughout his life. If the girl has precocious puberty, meaning early puberty, she may experience changes in her breast slightly earlier.
Stage2: age 10 to 11.5 years in girls: the areola begins to widen and there is slight raise of nipple. The areola turns dark. During this stage the breast tissue starts developing. There may be pain in the breast due to growth of the breast tissue.
Stage 3: age 11.5 to 13 in females: during this stage the girl child enters puberty period. The milk duct may start developing in the female breast and the breast enlarges in size. The growing breast becomes more visible. You may notice a bulge in the breast area.
Stage4: age 13 to 15: during this period the areola and nipple are elevated from the surrounding breast area. There is second layer of mound present on the breast. There may be stretch marks present on the breast skin due to skin stretching. During this period the breast achieves it shape. The girl should start wearing brassiere during this stage. She should be made aware of other aspect of puberty at this stage.
Stage 5: age 15 to 18 years: at this age the breast completely reaches its adult size. The breast becomes round in shape with prominent nipples and round enlarged areola. After this stage, the shape of breast depends on the fat deposition and loss of fat from the body.
Changes In Breast Tissue In Pregnancy And Menopause
From the above facts, breast development in females occurs between the adolescent periods till the end of pubertal age. Since each woman is different, the timeline may differ to certain extent. However, after its initial development during puberty, breast size considerably increases during pregnancy. This is because the breast makes extra space for milk ducts and milk glands. Even, changes are observed in areola. It becomes dark brown or black in color. The nipple becomes more prominent and erect.
During menopause, the milk ducts and milk glands become dysfunctional. They shrink in size. Gradually the milk glands are replaced by fat tissue. Few women may experience enlargement of breast after menopause, it is due to deposition and accumulation of fat in the breast. The breast may become soft and dwindle since the connective tissue in the breast looses it strength. The breast skin may also appear wrinkled.