Younger women often take for granted how attractive their natural breasts look. As they get older, however — particularly around menopause — they will inevitably notice a series of changes that alter the appearance of their breasts. It is common for breasts to sag, look smaller and feel less firm around the time a woman reaches middle age. In this blog, award-winning plastic surgeon Dr. A.J. Khalil reviews the reasons for some of these changes so that his patients know what to expect.
They Get Softer
Around the time menopause starts, the body produces lower levels of estrogen. Consequently, the body starts naturally replacing glandular breast tissue with fat. Because fat is softer than glandular tissue, the breasts will look and feel less firm than they did during a woman’s peak reproductive years.
They Decrease in Size
A decrease in estrogen is also responsible for shrinking mammary gland tissue. Essentially, the body is shutting down the system that facilitates milk production. In many women, this translates to having breasts that appear less full or are smaller in size overall.
Breast ptosis (or sagging) happens to women who have been pregnant or lost a significant amount of weight, but it most commonly occurs due to aging. That is because the rate at which the body produces collagen — a protein that keeps skin more elastic — gradually decreases over time. Without this collagen to keep the skin tight and connective tissue strong, the breasts will droop, hanging lower on the body.
Changes That Are Not Typical
Women should monitor their breasts for changes that are not a natural part of aging, too. Those who notice hard lumps, redness, puckering, nipple discharge or a thickening of breast skin should meet with a doctor to check whether these are symptoms of a larger and perhaps more dangerous health issue.
Plastic Surgery Can Help
Although there is no way to prevent aging from changing the look and feel of the breasts, women do have options for reversing some of the most significant signs of aging. Breast lift is popular among patients who want to counteract sagging and elevate the breasts to a more youthful position on the chest. Breast augmentation is useful to address a change in volume, shape or symmetry in the breasts. Many patients will choose to combine both surgeries for a more complete transformation. To discuss either of these surgical procedures with board certified plastic surgeon and breast specialist Dr. Khalil, please schedule a consultation at his Beverly Hills office by calling (310) 385-8601.