The key parts of the female breast include:. At the onset of puberty, female reproductive hormones — particularly estrogen —guide breast growth. Normal changes in the breast during pregnancy can include firming, enlarged nipples, darker nipples, and stretch marks on the skin due to enlargement.
The breasts are specialised organs, which are located on the anterior chest wall. The female breast is more developed than the male breast, as their primary function is to produce milk for nutrition of the infant and baby. There are lots of glands in our breasts, which grow and develop during puberty and maturation.
Mammalia are so named based on the presence of the mammary gland in the breast. The mammary gland is an epidermal appendage, derived from the apocrine glands. The human breast consists of the parenchyma and stroma, originating from ectodermal and mesodermal elements, respectively.
Lactation is the process by which milk is synthesized and secreted from the mammary glands of the postpartum female breast in response to an infant sucking at the nipple. Breast milk provides ideal nutrition and passive immunity for the infant, encourages mild uterine contractions to return the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size i. Mammary glands are modified sweat glands. The non-pregnant and non-lactating female breast is composed primarily of adipose and collagenous tissue, with mammary glands making up a very minor proportion of breast volume.
The structure of the female breast is complex — including fat, glandular and connective tissue, as well as lobes, lobules, ducts, lymph nodes, blood vessels and ligaments. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
The breast is one of two prominences located on the upper ventral region of the torso of primates. In females, it serves as the mammary glandwhich produces and secretes milk to feed infants. At pubertyestrogensin conjunction with growth hormonecause breast development in female humans and to a much lesser extent in other primates.
A mammary gland is an exocrine gland in humans and other mammals that produces milk to feed young offspring. Mammals get their name from the Latin word mamma"breast". The mammary glands are arranged in organs such as the breasts in primates for example, humans and chimpanzeesthe udder in ruminants for example, cows, goats, and deerand the dugs of other animals for example, dogs and cats.
It is important for women to become familiar with the normal anatomy and physiology function of their breasts so that they can recognize early signs of possible abnormalities. This section outlines basic information on breast composition, development, and typical changes from puberty to pregnancy to menopause. A layer of fatty tissue surrounds the breast glands and extends throughout the breast. The fatty tissue gives the breast a soft consistency.
Each breast has 15 to 20 sections, or lobes, that surround the nipple in a radial manner, like spokes on a wheel. Inside these lobes are smaller sections, called lobules. At the end of each lobule are tiny "bulbs" that produce milk.