Breast Anatomy and Developement
Development of breasts is a part of physical changes a girl’s body undergoes at the outset of puberty which starts anytime between the ages of 8 and 13, and ends at about 18 or 20. In this respect you may be a few years behind or ahead of your classmates and this is normal. This means that your breasts may grow slower or faster than do those of your friends of the same age. Accordingly, your periods may start at an earlier or later age.
But breast growth and periods do not start at the same time. Breast growth starts a few years before periods. Breasts usually continue to grow for about four years after the first period.
Puberty starts when your body begins producing more chemicals called hormones which cause not only physical, but emotional changes as well. Every girl has her own “trigger time” for these changes, including breast development. Much will depend on a girl’s way of life. For example, girls who go in for sports or engaged in some other physical activities may enter puberty at a later age.(Click here to read about how hormones affect the development of breasts.)
On the contrary, if a girl is obese, she may enter puberty at early age, because obesity favors the production of hormones stated above.
Usually girls are worried about the timing of their breast development be it early or late, even if everything is going fine. If you don’t notice any sign of breast growth by the time you mark your 14th anniversary, this does not necessarily mean that something is wrong, but anyway we suggest you to consult with your doctor.
As a girl goes along the phases of puberty, she will grow taller and not only her breast, but body shape as a whole will change. In other words, puberty is the time when a girl’s body develops into a woman’s body.
How do you know exactly that your breasts started developing?
As the first indication of this you will notice small “breast buds” which become evident on your chest, and enlargement and possible darkening of the areola around each nipple. You may experience your breasts or nipples itching that indicate they are growing. Accordingly, the itching stops when the breasts stop growing.
As the headline states, sizes and shapes vary from person to person and a size can range from very small (like bra size AA) to very full (such as size EE) , but many women find their breasts remaining small for ever. Very often girls find their breasts unsymmetrical because one of them grows faster than the other and there’s nothing wrong with this. But usually by the time the breasts stop growing the lagging breast catches up.
Nevertheless, most girls’ breasts will always remain slightly uneven in shape and size. You must have noticed that many people’s eyes, ears and even the two halves of their faces are not symmetrical at all and this is normal. And your breasts are no exception.
Breast development typically goes through the following stages:
- Stage 1: Prepubertal period, i.e. breast development not started yet (10 years and younger).
- Stage 2: Breast buds start growing, nipples become tender, areola widens.
- Stage 3: Breasts become more prominent or elevated due to milk gland and fat tissue formation, and areola continues to widen. Usually this stage coincides with the first period.
- Stage 4: Breasts change in shape rather than in size, nipples are now standing out.
- Stage 5: A girl now has a final breast size and no more growth is expected.
These 5 stages are very relative and cannot be applied to every girl, because some of them may skip some intermediate stages.