An amazing fact was discovered by European sociologists: most modern women know practically nothing about the structure of one of the most important organs of their body: the mammary gland.

Chest – it is the object of adoration for men, the main part of the body that distinguishes women from the opposite sex, allowing you to grow a new life.

And given the growing trend towards cancer every year, the mammary gland is also an organ that can take life, which is why every girl and woman should know the structure, functions and "handling instructions" with own breasts.

Location and fixation apparatus of the mammary gland


Mammary gland or breast in Latin is called mamma – it is a paired organ located on the surface of the pectoralis major (m.pectoralis major) and partly anterior dentate muscle (m. serratus anterior) at the level from the III to VII ribs. 

The mammary gland is surrounded by a connective tissue capsule that separates the posterior smooth surface of the gland from the underlying fascia of the pectoralis major muscle. The capsule is loosely connected to the fascia, so the female breast is a very mobile part of the body.

The connective tissue capsule also forms partitions between the lobules of the mammary gland, and fixes the organ to the collarbone.

From the mammary gland to the thoracic fascia, there are strands of fibrous tissue that form the suspensory ligament of the mammary gland (lig. suspensorium mammae). The outgrowth of the gland, which is directed towards the armpit, forms the axillary process of the mammary gland (processus axillaris mammae).

Areola and nipple: why a woman needs them

The anterior surface of the mammary gland is covered with skin, in the center of which there is a pigmented chest circle – areola. For each woman, the size and color of the areola is individual: from pale pink to dark brown. In the center of the areola is the nipple of the mammary gland (papilla mammaria).


In the skin of the nipple and areola there are bundles of smooth muscle cells, which, by contracting, strain the nipple, increasing its size. This happens, for example, when exposed to low temperatures or arousal.

There are about 12-15 tubercles under the skin of the areola – areolar glands (glandulae areolares), which are rudimentary mammary glands, that is, in the process of evolution they have lost their significance. In addition, there are few sweat and sebaceous glands on the areolas, the secret of which is necessary to prevent the delicate skin of the areolas and nipples from drying out.

The structure of the mammary gland: where does milk come from

In a sexually mature woman, the mammary gland consists of the body of the mammary gland itself, adipose and fibrous tissue. The size and shape of a woman's breasts directly depends on the amount of adipose tissue. That is why, losing or gaining weight necessarily affects the size of the breast.

The body of the mammary gland (corpus mammae) consists of 15-20 separate lobes (lobi glandulae mammae), which are divided into lobules (lobuli glandulae mammae) by layers of loose connective and fatty tissues. On palpation, these structures of the mammary gland are palpated in the form of small nodules or bumps.

On the surface of the nipple, 8-15 openings of the excretory milk ducts (ductus lactiferi) open. In front of the mouths, each duct expands into the mammary sinus (sinus lactiferi), in which the milk produced by the cells of the mammary gland is collected.

What nerves provide high sensitivity of the female breast

Innervation of the skin of the mammary gland is provided by three main sources: & nbsp; anterolateral cutaneous branches of the III-IV intercostal nerves, anteromedial branches of the II-IV intercostal nerves and branches of the supraclavicular nerve originating from the cervical plexus.

In addition, branches of the medial and lateral pectoral nerves take part in the innervation of the mammary gland. High sensitivity of the nipples and areola is provided by the anterolateral cutaneous branch of the IV intercostal nerve.

Its final branches consist of 5 bundles: three innervate the areola, one - the nipple and one more - the parenchyma of the gland, located & nbsp; around the areola. Such a large number of nerve endings makes the female breast, namely the area of ​​the areola and nipple, one of the main female erogenous zones.

Basic age-related changes in the breast


The mammary gland is an organ whose changes are closely related to changes in the hormonal background of a woman. That is why, during the menstrual cycle, there is a slight increase in the size of the gland, its swelling, pain and similar changes.

Until puberty, the mammary gland remains underdeveloped and consists of a small number of lobes surrounded by fibrous connective and adipose tissue. During puberty, under the influence of hormones, growth and branching occurs  ducts, as well as an increase in the mass of adipose tissue.

During pregnancy, the breast increases due to the intensive growth of the glandular tissue of the mammary gland with parallel elongation and branching of the ducts, the development of the alveoli of the mammary gland and the accumulation of the secretory product in them – milk.

After a woman stops breastfeeding, the number of secretory sections of the mammary gland is reduced, and its size decreases. With the onset of the next pregnancy, the cycle repeats.

In the climacteric, the senile involution of the mammary gland begins, that is, its reverse development. The secretory sections and ducts of the mammary gland atrophy, the supporting apparatus weakens, as a result of which the breast sags.


"Breast Handling Instructions": Things to Always Remember

Mammary gland – this is a very delicate structure that requires special attention to itself. Like any other part of the body, the chest area needs regular hygiene procedures, & nbsp; especially during lactation, to prevent the development of infectious processes. It is necessary to avoid even minimal trauma to the chest, and therefore, young girls need to be careful about the choice of the sport they would like to do.

Breast injuries can subsequently lead to malignant transformation of healthy tissues. It is important to choose comfortable, non-squeezing underwear, selected strictly according to the size of the breast, from natural fabrics.  It is absolutely unacceptable to use peels and scrubs with coarse abrasive particles on the delicate skin of the chest.

But the most important thing in taking care of your own breasts is to have REGULAR preventive breast examinations, both through self-examinations and with the help of a competent specialist.

Warned – means armed. Possession of a sufficient amount of information about the anatomy of the mammary gland and competent, careful handling of your own breasts will provide you with its beauty and health for many years.

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