What are the Main Causes of Breast Ptosis?
Breast ptosis, or drooping breasts, is a relatively common occurrence. There are different causes of breast ptosis and in this blog I will discuss them. There is a Grading system for breast ptosis and rates ptosis from Grade 1 to 3 with Grade 3 being the most severe. The main component of this grading system is the position of the nipple on the breast and in relation to the breast crease. The more the nipple is below the breast crease, the higher the grade.
The most common factors that cause breast ptosis are age, pregnancy, and weight. As we age, not only have the breasts been exposed to gravity longer, but the skin tone worsens. Elastin, which is a protein responsible for skin tone decreases with age and contributes to laxity. Thus, a woman who has no ptosis at age 20 may have ptosis at 50 or 60 even if never undergoing pregnancy or weight fluctuations.
Pregnancy is the most common cause of breast ptosis that I see in my office. With the acute rise in hormones during pregnancy, most women experience a sudden increase in breast size. The breasts enlarge, stretching the skin. If the woman breast feeds this increase in size can be even more dramatic. Once the woman gives birth or stops breast feeding there is just as dramatic a decrease in breast size. This can leave the overly stretched skin unable to completely tighten up and lead to not only ptosis but also deflation.
One other common cause of ptosis is weight. Typically women who are overweight or obese will have ptosis even if their skin tone is good. This is due to the sheer weight of their breasts which causes a downward pull. On another note, women who undergo weight fluctuations, not including pregnancy, can develop ptotic breasts. Though the cause of this is different than in pregnancy, the effect on the breasts is the same.
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