Historical and Cultural Aspects of the Female Breast
Through all of recorded history, across cultures, time and space beginning with Neolithic carvings, through primitive paintings and classics sculptures the lush and full breast and in some instances multiple breasts on one figure focus on the life sustaining ability of the breasts while emphasizing it’s associated sexuality.
Puberty is the Watershed Moment for the Female Breast
The pubescent female breast has an awakening at puberty when the breast sprouts the “ breast bud” and begins the separation from the configuration and function of the male breast.
As the young girl “ grows up” she eventually experiences menarche. This word defines the onset of puberty, leading to the slow development of the breasts. The anatomical alterations in the breasts evolve over the next several years. At 21 years old the female breast has arrived at the completion of it’s final size, shape and firmness, unless pregnancy intervenes.
However ‘Virginal Hypertrophy’ or ‘Juvenile Macromastia’ though rare may occur and are due to hormonal influences. This condition results in extremely large breasts that produce physical and psychological problems. The NAC (nipple areolar complex) may also enlarge. There are various approaches to treat this condition.
Pregnancy has a marked effect on the size, shape and firmness of the breasts and NAC as they become larger and the NAC may become darker.
Hormonal decreases at menopause result in shrinking of the glandular elements and diminishment of the fatty tissue. Skin elasticity and collagen decrease and contribute to sagging. Shoulder ridging, neck and back pain and irritation of the undersurface of the breasts may be experienced.