At some point, we've all had the "your body is going to go through some changes" speech, usually during our pre-teen years. However, the cold, hard truth is that our bodies never really stop changing! If you've been noticing a few changes in your breasts, you're not alone. In fact, as you age, your lovely lady lumps naturally go through a lot of changes. Let's take a closer look and dissect those changes decade by decade, shall we?
IN YOUR 20S
Size: If you're losing the weight you put on in college, settling into your adult weight or noticing a slower metabolism (after all, we can't stay young forever!), you may notice a change in the size of your breasts. They will enlarge as you gain weight, and get smaller as you lose weight. As you start to have children, you'll notice your breasts enlarge during pregnancy; that's partly due to the weight you will put on, but is also due to the fact that your body is preparing for lactation. When all is said and done postpartum, they might feel smaller or bigger than before.
Color: Also due to pregnancy, your areolas will darken in color. Who knew we had the gift of camouflage? Speaking of your nipples, they'll also get a bit bigger. After pregnancy, you should notice them returning to their "normal" states in both size and color.
Lumps and bumps: Don't freak out! It's very common for your breasts to go through "fibrocystic change" (benign lumps) in your 20s. Thanks to your ever-changing menstrual cycle and hormones, you might notice some painful lumps in your breast. The good news is that typically, painful lumps are not the ones associated with cancer — but of course, check with your doctor right away if you notice anything.
>> Read more: These Memes Sum Up Your Period Perfectly
IN YOUR 30S
Stretching: A few kids in and your girls can feel the pressure! After the weight fluctuations that pregnancy brings comes stretch marks and ptosis (which basically means your boobies will be a bit more droopy than you're used to).
IN YOUR 40S
Texture: Here comes menopause! In addition to hot flashes and perhaps even more weight fluctuations comes something called involution. Involution is the process when breast tissue is replaced by fat, which is softer than tissue, so your breasts won't feel as firm. The involution process also doesn't happen uniformly (of course), so that means some parts of your breasts will feel softer than other parts, and you may notice some soft lumps. While a soft lump typically is not a red flag, it's still important to start getting regular mammogram screenings (in addition to self-exams!).
Density: Guess what? Ptosis is common during pregnancy, but it also just comes naturally as you age. So even if you made it through life without having any children, you're still going to notice less dense breasts. As the collagen levels in your breasts decline, so does your breasts' elasticity. One upside? Doctors are better able to analyze your mammograms if your breasts aren't as dense as they used to be.
Now that you've got the skinny on your changing breasts, share your thoughts in the comments below! Have you noticed any of the above changes?