Changes In The Healthy Breast

mom and daughter

Your breast may go through a variety of healthy changes throughout your life.

Several months before the onset of menstruation, female hormones signal the body to begin developing breasts. Breasts may feel tender or even hurt a little at this time. One breast may develop more quickly than the other so there may be a slight difference in size.

Menstrual Cycle
Many women’s breast feel tender around the time of their period. This is because female hormones, primarily estrogen, cause the mammary glands to swell. The swelling and tenderness usually lessens or disappears after your period.

Weight Changes
Like other parts of your body that contain fatty tissue, your breasts may change in size or shape if you lose or gain weight.

Breasts usually enlarge during a pregnancy as mammary glands prepare for milk production. Breasts remain larger until breast feeding stops. Breasts may become tender early in pregnancy, and remain sensitive until childbirth. Leakage of clear or whitish fluid is also a normal breast change during pregnancy.

Mammary glands and ducts begin decreasing at menopause. This is also a time when fibrous tissue thins and is replaced by softer, fatty tissue.

Birth Control Pills and Hormone Replacement Therapy
The use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy may result in breast feeling tender and swelling slightly.

Early Detection Is The KEY To More Successful Treatment

Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in women.

Early detection of breast cancer can save lives and increase treatment options. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends the following schedule for women at average risk.

Age 40 & over

Mammogram and clinical breast exam (CBE) yearly.

Age 20s & 30s

CBE about every 3 years.

Starting in 20s

Choose whether or how often to do breast self-exam(BSE).

To assess your risk for breast cancer, talk to your doctor.