Like many women, you may not have stopped to think about your breast health until you had reason to, such as noticing a breast change that concerned you or starting to breastfeed.
Knowing about the anatomy of your breasts and how they function can help you understand the normal changes that may occur during your lifetime. This could help you pinpoint any unusual breast changes and know when it’s time to discuss your concerns with a health care provider.
The structure of the breast
The breasts are made up of a complex network of milk-producing sacs (lobules), passageways for carrying milk, supporting tissue, lymph nodes, glands, tiny muscles and fat. Muscle tissue in the nipple allows it to become erect in response to sexual stimulation or breastfeeding. Muscle tissue around the lobules helps squeeze milk into the ducts. Glands on the areola secrete small amounts of fluid to lubricate the nipple when breastfeeding.
At different reproductive stages of a woman’s life, such as adolescence, pregnancy and menopause, the breasts undergo normal changes. To learn more, find out about the normal breast changes
women experience at different stages of life.