Many girls worry about when their bodies will develop. They want to know when their breasts will develop or when they will have their first period. If a friend or younger sister develops first, she may worry and think there is something wrong with them.
The fact is that physical development begins at different times and proceeds at different rates. So the onset of breast development differs from person to person, which is completely normal.
Breast Development During Puberty
The onset of breast development is one of the earliest signs of puberty in girls, the appearance of pubic hair is the next symptom. Therefore, getting pubic hair and breasts can be close together.
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for the growth and development of the breasts. Breast development normally begins about two to three years before menstruation begins. The entire process takes several years.
Girls get breasts in five stages. In general, you should reach stage four to five before your period starts.
Stage 1: In the first stage (in childhood), the breasts are flat.
Stage 2: This is the stage where the breast bud develops. At this stage, the nipple and areola are slightly raised and the glandular tissue begins to grow. The very early breast buds are something you might miss because the change from stage 1 to 2 is so small. However, this incipient breast tissue can be uncomfortable and feel hard, which can be a cause for panic. However, you can be sure that this is all very normal and does not indicate the development of a tumor.
Stage 3: Next, the breasts begin to enlarge. This is often done first in a conical shape, and later in a rounder shape. The areola starts to get bigger and darker. The nipple may now point outward, but often remains flat through puberty. It only turns into a stiff nipple when a woman gets pregnant. This is the time when the breasts grow the fastest. However, some teens may experience breast growth for a while after their periods have started.
Stage 4: Some (but not all) girls go through a stage where the nipple and areola form a separate mound from the actual breast. This is stage 4. The whole process from the breast bud stage to stage 5 usually takes about 3 to 4 years.
Important To Know
During breast growth, you may experience some tenderness in your breasts. This is normal. The skin can also itch. Stretch marks can develop but will fade over time.
Breast development can begin as early as age 8 or later at age 13. If a girl does not have breast buds or pubic hair by age 13, it is recommended that she see a gynecologist. The same is true if you don't have your period by age 15. This is called delayed puberty and there are several reasons for this delay or absence of development.
Breasts come in many sizes and shapes, most of which are considered normal. Genetics and weight determine the definitive breast size. Some teens and adult women have a difference in the size of their breasts. This difference can be minimal or severe. However, when one side barely develops, it is considered a congenital lack of breast tissue.
Finally, some teens/women have very large breasts for their bodies. This can cause neck and back pain and other problems, so it is important to wear a well-fitting bra of excellent quality. Any breast problems should be discussed with the doctor.