What Would Cause my Breasts to Shrink?

As a teen I was a 32B, I was athletic back then with a very low % of body fat. I am now 30 and lost appx 30 lbs in the last year. I'm nearly back at my teenage weight and now an A cup. My body fat % today is quite a bit higher now, so this doesn't make any sense to me.

Doctor Answers 12

Breast changes with age

Unfortunately, what you are experiencing are the normal changes that occur in the breast with age.  When you are younger, your breast has more fibrous and dense tissue.  As you age, this becomes more fatty in consistency and you start to lose some of the structural support in the breast.  Also, where your body decides it will store fat also changes with age and may not necessarily go where we want it.  The same thing goes for facial aging, where we lose volume in our face as we get older despite being the same weight.

If you are desiring fuller breasts but not necessarily implants, then you may want to consider fat grafting where you borrow fat from one part of the body where you don't want it and add it the area where you want more volume.

Weight fluctuation can affect breast size

Breasts are made up of both glandular breast tissue and fatty deposits. The fatty part of the breast can be affected by weight loss and weight gain, just like any fat cells anywhere on the body. Unfortunately, there’s no way we can control the areas where the body chooses to store or lose fat, which means that even if your body fat percentage is higher overall than in your younger years, there’s no guarantee that the higher percentage will end up in your breasts. Your age may be playing a role in your breast appearance as well, as changing hormone levels also have a major influence.

Change in breast size and shape with aging

You are likely experiencing changes in your breasts related more to aging than weight or percent body fat. The structures and composition of the breast change with the aging process, the skin becomes less elastic and more lax, the ligaments holding the breast to the chest wall are subject to gravity and stretch out, the areola widen with weight gain, pregnancy, time and gravity. It is not simply a matter of how much you weigh and body fat. Returning your breasts to a more youthful appearance after many years and changes in your body may require the assistance of a plastic surgeon. 

Rachel Streu, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Breasts shrunk? Take a pill (eventually).

As others have indicated, the breast has several components : gland, fat, skin, and suspensory ligaments all of which may be changed by aging, pregnancy, hormones, weight gain, etc.  The changes you describe are the norm.  Improvements may be made with implants and/or breast lift surgery.  In the future, you may be able to take a pill that restores the tissue (via gene therapy) but at this time, surgery is your best option.  Good luck! 

What would cause my breasts to shrink?

There are several factors that contribute to the reduction of breast size such as hormonal changes, pregnancies and fluctuation in weight. Keep in mind that fluctuation of your breast size due to the occurrences mentioned earlier eventually lead to the decrease of elasticity of your skin, thereby leaving your breasts to sag. I hope you found this information to be helpful.

Rady Rahban, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

What makes breasts become smaller?

There are 3 main components to the breast - the breast tissue itself, fat within the breast, and the skin enveloping it all. As we age and/or go through hormonal changes and or weight loss or gain, all 3 of these can change. For example, if you've aged 20 years and lost breast tissue and the skin has become more lax, but you've stayed the same weight, your breast size may appear to decrease. 

I hope this is helpful!

Bryan Correa, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Pregnancy, Weight Loss or Gain, Breastfeeding, Menopause, Hormones all Cause Breast Size to Fluctuate

Breast size is impacted by a large number of variables and for this reason can change throughout a woman’s life. Pregnancy, weight loss, weight gain, breast feeding, menopause, hormone replacement, and normal aging can all significantly effect the size of the breasts.

Two major components contribute to a women’s breast volume. These include the fat within the breast and the actual breast tissue itself. With normal aging, women tend to lose breast tissue. When this happens women often lose breast volume and develop breast sag. This may even occur in the presence of increased body fat.

Under these circumstances, women are often unhappy with the appearance of their breasts. When this scenario arises breast augmentation and possibly breast lift are excellent therapeutic options. If you’re concerned about loss of breast volume, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate. This surgeon should be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Body changes with age and weight loss

Aging and dramatic weight loss can cause the tissues to sag, making you look smaller than you actually are because your breasts are so stretched out. In addition, your body changes as you age, so just because you are at your teenage weight and even have a higher body fat percentage, you may be storing the fat in another part of your body (such as your thighs or midsection.) 

Change in breast size

As we age, our breasts may change.  Young women tend to have more firm breast tissue and less fat in their breasts. As we age, we gain more fat in our breast with less breast (milk producing) tissue.  These changes can lead to smaller breast even when women have stayed the same size for many years.  Hormonal changes, pregnancies, and weight gain and loss can have a large roll in the size and shape of our breasts.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
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Shrinking breasts

There are two big components to breast size - breast tissue (or parenchyma) and fat - as women age there is less breast tissue and more fat, making breast size more sensitive to changes in weight. You have less breast tissue than you had as a teen and now that you have lost weight (congratulations!) - you have less breast fat. 

If you have adequate body fat, you may be a good candidate for fat transfer (taking fat cells from one part of your body and moving them to the breast). 

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.