Why breast sagging occurs after breastfeeding?
Breast sagging (ptosis) is a natural, inevitable process that happens to all women at some point. The most notable sagging happens with the process called breast involution, but breasts can start drooping a little at any age. Breasts are composed of fibrous tissue and fatty tissue, both of which eventually feel the effects of gravity. Over time as gravity pulls the breasts down, the breast ligaments will loosen and put tension on the overlying breast skin which will stretch as well. This depends on the elasticity of your skin and of your ligaments, as determined by your genetic makeup, life experiences (diet, smoking habits, pregnancies), and also on normal aging processes. Obviously large breasts have more mass and will tend sag and stretch more easily.
During the gestational period, the breast tissue grows in size in response to the large amounts of estrogen that are produced by a mother’s body. This process prepares a mother’s breasts for lactation (milk production) to allow for breast feeding. This process results in a condition known as breast hypertrophy.
Estrogen is a type of female hormone. Hormones are vital chemical substances in humans which act as “chemical messengers,” carrying information and instructions from one group of cells to another. In the human body, hormones influence almost every cell, organ and function. They regulate human growth, development, tissue function, sexual function, the way the body uses food, the body’s response to emergencies, and even moods. The estrogenic hormones are uniquely responsible for the growth and development of female sexual characteristics and reproduction. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat tissues. In women, estrogen circulates in the bloodstream and binds to estrogen receptors on cells in targeted tissues, affecting not only the breast and uterus, but also the brain, bone, liver, heart and other tissues. Estrogen controls growth of the uterine lining during the first part of the menstrual cycle, causes changes in the breasts during adolescence and pregnancy, and regulates various other metabolic processes, including bone growth and cholesterol levels.
Breast involution is a process where the milk-making system inside the breast shrinks because it is not needed anymore. This happens either after weaning from breastfeeding. When the tissues inside the breast shrink, and the skin surrounding it doesn’t, the breast can look “empty,” or deflated and tend to sag . After weaning, a woman’s body does usually deposit fat back to the breast (this process takes months), so that breasts may rebound to their pre-pregnancy size. However, many women’s breasts will actually lose volume, and become smaller than their pre-pregnancy breast size. This frequently leads to discontent and negative self images among new mothers with respect to their breast size and shape. Fortunately, these problems are easily correctable with breast rejuvenation surgery: mastopexy, breast augmentation and augmentation-mastopexy.