Breasts the basics

  • Breasts are mainly made up of fatty tissue.
  • The main function of the breast is to produce milk for breastfeeding. They sit high on the front of the chest and extend down and around into the armpit. The breast tissue is supported behind by ligaments and the large chest muscle that extends over most of the ribs.
  • The darker area of skin around the nipple is called the areola. On the areola are some little raised bumps. They're called Montgomery glands, and they're quite normal - they actually produce fluid to moisturise the nipple.
  • In each breast there are a number of glands, known as lobules, which produce breast milk during pregnancy. This breast milk is carried through tubes called ducts to the nipple, ready for breastfeeding.
  • The nipple is a small projection of skin, and it's there to deliver milk to babies.
  • From puberty onwards oestrogen and progesterone play a vital part in regulating a woman's menstrual cycle, which results in having periods. These hormones are the reason why you may notice changes in your breasts just before your period.
  • Before a period, breasts may feel heavier and fuller. They may also be tender or lumpy. After a period this lumpiness becomes less obvious or may disappear altogether, although some women have tender, lumpy breasts all the time. Many girls also have breast pain linked to their menstrual cycle.
  • Everybody's breasts look different! And as mentioned before, 'normal' comes in all shapes and sizes.return.png