Aging Changes in the Breast

    As you age, the tissue in your breasts and the structure of your breasts begin to change. This is due to changes in your reproductive hormones caused by the natural process of aging. As a result of these changes, your breasts begin to lose their firmness and fullness. Also with age comes an increased risk of developing abnormal growths in the breast such as fibroids and cysts, though women of reproductive age can also develop them.

    Causes of Aging Changes in the Breast

    One of the main causes of aging changes in the breasts is a natural decline of the female reproductive hormone estrogen. This reduced amount of estrogen causes the skin to become dry, making it less elastic. With less elasticity, the breasts lose firmness and fullness and develop a stretched and saggy appearance. It is not uncommon for an older woman to have changes in her cup size due to the changes that occur within her breasts.

    Most changes in the breast due to age occur around the time of menopause. Menopause is a natural process during which a woman ceases menstruation and after which she can no longer have children. This stage normally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

    However, women who have had their reproductive organs surgically removed can develop aging changes in the breasts at any time. Some women experience these changes before menopause, although these changes are more prevalent among menopausal women. These changes affect the breast’s connective tissue, skin, and muscles.

    What Changes Can Be Expected?

    Common changes that occur in the breast due to age include:

    • nipple displacement (nipples point to the side instead of straight ahead)
    • stretch marks
    • an elongated, stretched, or flattened appearance
    • wider space between the breasts
    • lumpiness (may be due to fibrocystic changes in the breast or serious conditions such as breast cancer)

    Aging changes in the breasts are apparent upon physical examination.

    Treating Aging Changes in the Breasts

    Once changes take place in the breasts, there are no treatment options available to reverse the process. If the changes in your breasts are causing you significant distress, you might want to consider cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery can replace the fullness of the breasts as well as the positioning of the nipples.

    There is no definitive treatment used for erasing or preventing stretch marks. However, some over-the-counter products are useful in minimizing the appearance of stretch marks. There are also laser treatment options for reducing the appearance of stretch marks.

    Discuss these options with your doctor to find out which is right for you.

    Preventing Aging Changes in the Breasts

    There’s no sure way to prevent your breasts from being affected by changes due to natural aging. However, using lotions and creams to strengthen the skin’s elasticity or taking hormone replacement may slow down the process of breast aging.

    You can use over-the-counter creams, lotions, or oils that contain collagen. Collagen is a substance that makes the skin more elastic. Cocoa butter is promoted to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.