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Breast Development in Girls

The earliest mark of pubertal development in about 92% per cent of all the females is development of their breasts. Growing, developing and enlarging breasts in girls is because of body’s own exposure to increased levels of various female hormones, especially estrogens. The breasts’ development begin as early as 8 yr or as late as 13 yr.

The scientific data

In the year of 1969, Marshall and Tanner analyzed 192 English schoolgirls, and from that observation, they were able to set and define the Sexual Maturity Rating (SMR SCALE) scale for those teenagers. Apart from all the findings that the initiation of breasts’ development occurred between 9-13 yr, they also determined that the completion of breasts’ growth took about 4 yr. As a result of which, some girls might not complete breast growth until the age of 17-18 yr if they begin at 13 th year.

The development of breasts often begins on one side before another. The girl may notice a tender firm lumps underneath the nipples. While starting to some girls, more than likely these lumps represent the “bud” of breasts’ development. Marshall and Tanner were capable to make categories of breast development into five stages that took place during the 4-yr period. The 1 st menstrual cycle often began in Tanner breast stage 4, soon after the skeletal growth spurt and about 2½ - 3 yr after the breasts’ bud stage.

Later on, the seminal studies from Marshall and Tanner, a huge study of approximately 17,000 girls that was conducted by community pediatricians mentioned some differences in the onset of developments. For girls between age 8-9 yr, 5 per cent of white girls and 15.4 per cent of African American girls showed some breasts’ development. It is usually considered that breast development in girls prior to the 8 th year of their age is very essential and it would necessitate a medical evaluation. And girl, who has not begun to develop breast by age 13 yr may also need a medical consideration.

Some abnormalities

The girls who are lacking breast development might have absence of the breast glandular tissues. However, the condition is very rare or they may have a chronic illness such as Crohn’s disease, Turner syndrome or any severe malnourishment problem. Extra nipple or breast may also occur in up to 2% of healthy girls. These generally don’t formulate unless there is a pregnancy, but the nipple might be seen along the milk-line from the axilla to the thigh. Some of the ladies select to have the extra tissues removed after her breasts’ growth and development is over.

Occasionally, a girl develops very large and pendulous bosoms. Large breasts might cause backache, sore-shoulder, psychological stress as well as some strange curvature, called as kyphosis (it is the situation wherein there is a forward curvature of the upper spine). In some of the ladies, breasts’ reduction surgery is advised. Other girls might have tiny breasts. If she is developing them in a normal way with having normal menstruation, then medical attention is not so necessary. Breasts’ augmentation can be performed in some of the cases

Proper care

Towards the end of breast development or by age 16 yr, girls must consider performing periodic breast self-examinations (BSE). About 89% of breast masses are detected by the adolescent patients. BSE helps to acquaint the adolescents with the feel of her normal breasts, encourages a sense of responsibility for self-caring and helps to form lifelong health benefits. While some adolescents might have some anxiety from BSE, the benefits to teens outweigh the disfavors and most clinicians who provide care to teenagers teach and encourage them to perform monthly BSE.



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