You are here: Deaconess Associates > Deaconess Breast Services > Patient Education > How a Breast Changes as You Age

How a Breast Changes as You Age

The appearance and function of the breasts are controlled by changes in hormones. Specific changes occur at certain times in a woman's life.

Puberty
As the body begins to produce estrogen, glandular tissue grows and the breasts begin topuberty.jpg take shape. Fibrous tissue becomes elastic, allowing fat tissue to accumulate. Once the woman begins to ovulate, progesterone triggers the remaining development of the breast.

Around menstruation
Hormonal changes that are part of the menstrual cycle have marked mens_cyc.jpgeffects on breast size and firmness. For example, just before menstruation begins, duct glands grow and tissues retain fluid, causing the breasts to swell and become tender.

During pregnancy
As the body prepares for birth, the mammary glands and ducts grow and swell. After delivery, the mammarypregncy.jpg glands begin milk production.

During and after menopause
The onset of menopause causes the loss of mammary glands, which the body replaces with fat tissue, menopaus.jpgmaking the breasts less firm.

The appearance and function of the breasts are controlled by changes in hormones. Specific changes occur at certain times in a womanís life.