The first outward sign of breast development in a girl starts at puberty, which is the period when certain biological as well as emotional changes take place as she approaches womanhood. Appearance of breast buds is taken to be the first sign of puberty. This usually occurs between the ages of 8 to 13 (average being 10 to 12 years of age).
As a result of increased secretion of the hormone estrogen by the ovaries at puberty, the breasts start to enlarge, mainly due to accumulation of fatty tissue and development of periductal connective tissue. At this stage the breasts may be small in size but has the potential for growth till a girl is about 19 or 20 years old.
- Breast hypoplasia, which is the underdevelopment of the breast may occur due to familial or genetic causes, without being linked to any pathological cause. It may also be a result of rare genetic disorders like Poland’s sydrome as well.
- Genetic body fat distribution
- Turner’s syndrome (ovarian agenesis) is a medical disorder that affects about 1 in every 2,500 girls. It is a genetic condition in which a female does not have the usual pair of two X chromosomes. Besides other symptoms, there may be lack of breast development at the expected age, usually by age 13.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Delayed menarche
- Hormone irregularities as a result of gynecological disorders that may also cause a range of menstrual symptoms like irregular menses and heavy periods.
- Shrinking of the breast tissue during menopause as a result of decreasing estrogen levels can cause a decrease in breast size.
- Family history
- Eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia or severe dieting
- Severe weight loss, whether intentional or unintentional
Certain Facts about Small Breasts
- Small breasts do not hinder breastfeeding in any way.
- Milk production is not hampered by small breasts.
- There is no relation between breast size and the development of breast cancer.
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