Women's breasts are made up of milk glands, milk ducts, fatty tissue, fibrous connective tissue, blood vessels, and a nipple.
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Fibrous tissue extends from the front of the breast to the back of the chest wall.
The fibrous tissues give support and shape to the female breast. Strands of fibrous tissues surround the breast and make a ridge at the bottom, near the rib cage. This is called the inframammary ridge. The softness or firmness of a woman's breast depends on the proportion of fatty tissue in relationship to fibrous tissue.
During puberty, a woman's oestrogen levels increase. This causes the fibrous tissue to be more elastic than when she was a child.
Premenopausal women sometimes experience painful breasts. These are usually related to hormonal changes that happen in connection with the menstrual cycle. The fibrous tissues of the breasts can swell, and small, fluid-filled sacs can develop in the fibrous tissues. This causes pain and soreness that is usually relieved as the hormone levels stabilise during the cycle.
If a woman has breast pain, she should see her physician. The doctor may request testing, such as imaging or a biopsy.
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