HealthSheets™


Breast Health: Normal Breast Changes

Breasts change over time. Their size and texture may vary with shifts in your body weight. Breasts also change as you go through different stages of your life.

Puberty

Breasts start growing before a girl begins to menstruate. This happens in response to hormonal changes. Each girl’s breasts mature at their own pace.

Menstrual cycle

New mother and grandmother holding newborn baby daughter.

Most women’s breasts change during the menstrual cycle. Before each period, mammary glands may swell and become tender or lumpy. After the period ends, swelling, tenderness, and lumpiness are likely to lessen. Women who take birth control pills may find that their breasts become firmer and larger.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

During pregnancy, mammary glands enlarge to produce milk. This makes breasts larger and firmer. When breastfeeding ends, breasts return to their original size and may feel less firm.

Menopause

During and after menopause, ducts and mammary glands shrink. They’re replaced by fatty tissue, making breasts feel less lumpy. Women who take hormone therapy may have fewer breast changes related to menopause.

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