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The Female Breasts

The nurturing essence of womanhood and a fashion statement

An anatomical overview:

The term breast refers to the raised mound of tissue that grows on the upper anterior ventral region of the human torso (front of the human chest medically known as the mammary glands) and breasts are also found on all mammals. The breasts are mounted to the chest wall and are supported by a delicate system of muscles and ligaments. But the breasts do not contain muscles, the breast tissues lay on top of the chest wall muscles.

Both men and women have breasts but while the male breasts are similar to female breasts, the male breast tissues don't normally produce milk although history shows that some men have lactated. Breast tissues are composed of structures of adipose tissue with fat with mammary glands and milk ducts that secrete milk to feed new born babies. They also contain arteries and veins to supply nutrition, lymphatic nodes and ducts to remove body waste.

Each breast has a nipple surrounded by an areola which may vary in colour from pink to dark brown. The shape of the breasts has nothing to do with their function to produce milk although larger breasts may produce more milk. During pregnancy, the breasts grow due to stimulation by hormones (estrogens). Breast growth during the latter stages of pregnancy is more uniform than during puberty and during pregnancy, the areola often becomes darker and enlarges in size.

The blood circulation in the breast is much the same as the rest of the body consisting of arteries and veins. The arteries bring fresh blood to the cells carrying the nutrition that the breast and its tissues need for proper health, and the veins return blood back to the heart. The lymph system is part of an intercellular fluid network that transports toxins and other waste materials into the body for recycling and it is believed that congestion of the lymph system is a major contributor to breast cancer as cancers often take root in the lymph nodes. Within the breasts, mammary glands or lactiferous ducts are distributed throughout, these produce milk and connect to the nipple to deliver milk allowing the baby to suckle.

Human breast milk is custom produced for our babies to give them the best start in life.

Breast Shape

Female breasts come in many shapes and sizes and each breast has a nipple surrounded by an areola which may vary in colour from pink to dark brown.

There is a wide variation in breast size and shape for many reasons, and the external appearance of the breasts does not indicate anything of their internal anatomy or potential for milk production and nursing.

Many factors influence the appearance, size, shape of the breasts as well as the position of the breast and nipple in relation to the body.

A major factor is inheritance, our bodies generally inherit characteristics for our parents. These factors generally determine the position the breasts sit on the chest, their size and appearance. The shape of a woman’s breasts is dependent on the support provided by the suspensory ligaments that suspend the breasts from the clavicle (collar bone) and the clavi-pectoral fascia as well as the pectoral muscles and the skin.

Breast image courtesy of Wikipedea, click on the right image to view full size. Key: 1. Chest wall 2. Pectoralis muscles 3. Lobules 4. Nipple 5. Areola 6. Duct 7. Fatty tissue 8. Skin.

Diet and exercise, general health, skin condition, body weight and body posture will influence the growth of the breasts and normal life events. The hormonal changes of menstruation, pregnancy, breast feeding, menopause and weight loss or gain can all alter the size and shape of a woman’s breasts.

Norman and abnormal

On the breast development page you can see how breasts grow but many women suffer anxiety because they are slow developing or that they perceive their boobs do not conform to social expectations. The female breasts have been engineered by nature over millions of years and regardless of size or shape, they generally work extremely well. The only impairments to their function may be ingrown nipples or disease impairments but size or shape are irrelevant. What concerned most young women is that their breasts conform and have some appearance to the breasts of other women.

However because the breasts don't contain any muscles and they are supported by ligaments and the underlying structure of the front chest, neck and shoulders, the greatest effect on breast shape comes from how carries her body. When a woman slouches, the muscles of the front chest and shoulders relax and consequently the breasts also sag. With continual slouching and bad posture, the breasts take on a diminished appearance and they sit lower on the chest than intended.

Typical early development of breasts

For a great many women seeking breast enhancement, if they simply stood tall with their shoulders back, their breasts would sit higher and be more prominent. The health and appearance of the breasts are related to body posture and good physical health. The modern lifestyle tends to be rather sedentary therefore to maintain good health we should all be exercising for three or four hours a week. For women this means maintaining some upper body strength. Some may enjoy the gymnasium but one of the best forms of exercise is do because it teaches good posture and structural alignment. The peacefulness acquired through yoga practice leads to an inner self-confidence and is that self-confidence combined with a self-awareness that supports good posture and overall good health.

Unfortunately in this modern time, we are taught comparison and forced to compete. This is the capitalist way and within modern civilisation there are forces pulling us in all directions therefore is most important to have accurate knowledge and to disregard beliefs. Some breasts are naturally floppy and some are naturally firm, some sit naturally low in some sit naturally high, some are large and some are small. We need to move beyond comparison and while there are social advantages to having what is considered a fashionably nice bust, that is not an indicator of health. What is more sad (and some people laugh) is the woman who slouches and has low self-esteem but gets breast implants to improve esteem. This desire for a quick fix often leads to complications from surgery and breasts that just don't look right.

Nice breasts present other problems

In today's politically divisive society women are being increasingly forced to cover up because they're told their body as a crime against God (sin) and men are inadequately educated and socialised. In other words men stare and pass comments about woman's bodies, and some of them are plain rude. Women need an extra dose of self-confidence to cope with these been, but it's not only men, other women are often jealous and cause similar unpleasantness.

You could say that in this age of clinical correctness and intense competition and ice bust is irrelevant because it must be hidden and yet fashion dictates that women need to show some degree of cleavage to be sociably accepted and of course to advance their careers. To juggle all these social pressures and life expectations women need to become superwoman and that comes from knowing oneself, something that can only be learned through deep meditation balanced with healthy physical activity and a good diet.

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