As you grow older, so do your breasts. And even if they look healthy and in perfect shape, there are many hormonal and other changes going on in your body that can affect your breasts, too.
With age, your breast tissues start to change, which can be due to the pregnancy hormones that kick in when you’re pregnant or due to menopause. After pregnancy, in particular, your breasts start appearing fuller and lose their shape or start looking saggy.
Aging also plays a crucial role in the appearance of your breasts and so does menopause, which is when your estrogen levels are at an all-time low. Here’s how your breasts change with age.
From a sluggish metabolism to pregnancy and breastfeeding, there are a number of factors that affect the appearance of your breasts in your 20s.
- Slow Metabolism: Your 20s is the time when your body’s metabolism slows down and the adult weight starts to settle in. Depending on your overall metabolism and weight gain or weight loss, your breasts too will change shape, going from heavier to smaller or vice versa.
- Pregnancy: Most women also undergo pregnancy in their 20s, which is when your breasts undergo metamorphosis, quite literally. This is the time when your breasts gear up for feeding the new baby, the areola becomes darker and the nipples grow slightly. The additional weight that you put on also adds to the woes, resulting in saggy breasts and stretch marks. While most women lose the excess weight around their breasts due to breastfeeding, some have to live with it the rest of their lives.
- Fibrocystic change: Another common condition that may affect women in their 20s is fibrocystic change, which might result in one or more lumps on one or both of your breasts. These lumps are normally non-cancerous and are mainly caused by a change in estrogen levels. It might also cause swelling or tenderness in your breasts, and sometimes lead to a burning or itching sensation. While they are regarded harmless, make sure to get a checkup done by your doctor to be safe. 
By the time you’re in your 30s, and especially if you have been pregnant, the skin on and around your breasts may stretch due to the extra weight you gained and then lost. You may notice stretch marks on and around your breasts and also notice a slight sagging, which will be more noticeable in those who have heavier or fuller breasts.
Once you hit your 40s, your breasts will reach menopause with you. There will also be a decrease in the levels of estrogen, which is produced by the ovaries.
- In the 40s, the tissues in your breasts will be replaced by fat, which will make your breasts feel softer. However, this will not be same for the whole breast and it could be that some parts of your breasts will feel very soft and others may be lumpy in comparison. While lumps can trigger panic, do not be alarmed by their appearance. Consult your doctor and go for a checkup to clear any doubts.
- Your 40s is also that time when your body produces less collagen and the breasts start sagging. Collagen is the protein that helps maintain the elasticity of the skin and keeps the breasts taut.
Keeping Your Breasts Healthy
While there is no fail-safe method to prevent breast cancer, you can lower your risk by making the following changes. 
- Exercise regularly to avoid excess weight gain, as studies say that women with heavier breasts are at a higher risk of breast cancer 
- Reduce your alcohol intake and do not have more than two glasses a day, as a higher alcohol consumption can increase your chances of breast cancer 
- Include high fiber and low-fat foods in your diet
- Wear well-fitted bras that are comfortable and do not hurt your breasts
- Regularly examine your breasts at home for any lumps or changes. Speak to the doctor immediately if there is a cause of concern.
For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Women’s Health here.
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1. Fibrocystic Breast Changes. Site http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/fibrocystic-breast-changes-symptoms-treatments-causes (Read on 19 Aug 2015)
2. Keeping Your Breasts Healthy. Site http://www.cwhn.ca/node/40794 (Read on 19 Aug 2015)
3. Breast Cancer Prevention: Who Is At Risk? Site http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/hp/breast-prevention-pdq (Accessed 7 Sep 2015)
4. Alcohol Consumption And Breast Cancer Risk. Boyle, Peter, and Paolo Boffetta. “Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer Risk.” Breast Cancer Research : BCR 11.Suppl 3 (2009): S3. PMC. Web. 7 Sept. 2015. (Accessed 7 Sep 2015)