Breasts & Mammary Glands

The breasts of all human beings externally are fundamentally the same. However, the shape, size and functions of breasts differ considerably between the two sexes.

The important parts of a woman’s breasts are:

  • Breasts

The bigger and extra prominent part of a woman’s breast is characteristically noticeable through a woman’s dress.  In some cultures, the size of the breasts is associated with sexuality, but some others look at the size of a woman’s breast as a sign of fertility and maturity.

  • Areola

The circular spot around the nipple generally has a deeper pink or even darker skin. The color may change over a period time because of certain hormonal changes linked to pregnancy, menopause and menstruation.

  • Nipple

Each breast has a protruding tip of the similar color as that of the areola and is called a nipple. The nipple is where breast milk eventually flows from and makes an exit out of the body. It is, in fact, the place where many nerves end. Generally, each of the two breasts has one, but very rarely more than one nipple is found in a breast.

As the puberty commences in a female, her reproductive hormones, especially estrogen, begin guiding the growth of breasts. It is only because of the presence of these hormones that females have a bigger breast size in comparison to the male breasts.

During pregnancy, a female’s breasts get enlarged because of the hormonal increase in her body as the body prepares itself for producing milk. The usual changes in the breasts during pregnancy are:

  • Breasts become firmer and enlarged
  • Nipples get enlarged and darker
  • The appearance of stretch mark (This happens because of the enlarged breasts)

A breast size of a female may also get enlarged because of the use of hormone-based contraceptives, like birth-controlling pills, intra-vaginal instruments and patches.

One more difference between the male and female breasts are the number of nerve endings present in the nipples and its surrounding tissues. The larger number of nerve endings signifies the production of milk in mothers and increased sexual arousal as the nipples are enthused.

Females are more vulnerable to developing breast issues. These issues may be:

  • Premature growth of large breasts, Or, Virginal Breast Hypertrophy
  • Breast cancer
  • Development of benign lumps in the breasts
  • Breast infection, or Mastitis

Women above the age of 40 are advised to perform a self-breast examination every month and go in for a mammogram once a year. The earlier breast cancer and other issues diagnosis help in their easy treatment.

Mammary glands

The mammary glands are located in a female’s breasts.  They are responsible for the milk production and lactation for feeding a newborn baby. The breasts of both females and males hold glandular tissue within.

However, in woman the glandular tissue starts developing after attaining puberty in reaction to the release of estrogen.

Mammary glands produce milk only after the birth of a child. During the pregnancy period, the prolactin and progesterone hormones are discharged. The progesterone hormone obstructs the prolactin and stops the lactation of the mammary glands. During this period, a small quantity of a pre-milk material known as colostrum is also produced.

The colostrum is loaded with nutrients and antibodies for sustaining the baby during the initial period of life.

After the child delivery, the levels of progesterone decline and the prolactin levels remain elevated. This indicates the mammary glands to start lactating. Every time your baby is fed with breast milk, the milk gets emptied from your breast.

Soon, the mammary glands are indicated to carry on with more milk production. Upon attaining menopause, a female’s menstruation or  periods also discontinue. With this, the ductile system tissues turn into fibrous and begin degenerating.

Thus, the mammary glands begin shrinking and lose the power of producing milk.

CategoryBreasts, Infertility, IVF
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