In this article, we explore the science behind breasts. Which one is cool? God turning water to wine, or our bodies turning blood to milk?
Breasts are also called mammary glands. Thanks to the boobies’ babies get their food and feel secure in their mother’s warmth. Breasts are bodacious! They are very important for human livelihood, yet we see them only as an obsession.
Breasts are organs that are not fully developed at birth. So, when do they get fully grown? Have we ever thought about how they work? Any idea why only female humans have permanent fully grown boobs? There are so many things about breasts which we are not brainstorming because they are deemed as “taboob”, oops “taboo”!
Mammary glands are unique to mammals. Proteins, sugars, and fat from the mother’s blood are converted into breast milk, which is responsible for the baby’s nutrition.
The young ones of birds and reptiles are dependent on their parents to bring them outside food like fruits and insects, whereas mammals, from the word mammary, obtain their nourishment just by sucking the secretion of their mother’s milk. As long as mommy mammals are strong and healthy their little ones can get enough nutrients from their breast milk.
1. Breast Size
All mammals develop temporary breasts to produce milk during the nursing period. But their breasts will go back to flat once the feeding is done. But only in homo sapiens, the breasts remain in their developed stage even after their purpose is completed.
Although both male and female have breasts, their size, shape, and function are not the same. At the phase of puberty, ‘oestrogen’ a sex hormone guides the development of the female reproductive system which also includes the growth of breasts and pubic hair.
Men have low levels of oestrogen which explains their small breast size compared to that of women. Many of us believe that breast size is based on the weight of the human body, but we are not aware that our genes play a major role in determining their size. Also, the right and left boobs are not always in equal size. Most commonly the left one is bigger than the right one.
This phenomenon is known as breast asymmetry for which the scientists are not able to find a proper explanation. It is also amazing how female breasts change their size throughout every menstrual cycle depending upon the levels of oestrogen and progesterone produced at that time.
We all understand that a woman’s breast enlarges during the pregnancy and lactation period. But it may also increase its size when using hormone-based contraception methods like birth control pills, patches and intra-vaginal devices.
As per the human anatomy, the ring of pigmented skin which is surrounding the nipple is called the areola and the little bumps on the boobs are called “Montgomery’s Glands”.
During the nursing period, these glands produce appetizing oily secretions and also release some compounds to keep the nipple lubricated and taste yummy for a baby.
We may know that the nipple is made up of a single orifice but are you aware of the fact that it also has many tiny holes which we cannot see with a naked eye? Once the foetus is born and when they start breastfeeding, receptors in the nipple detect the new-born’s sucking and send messages to the mother’s brain.
This is when an awesome process happens. The mother’s brain releases oxytocin and initiates the production of the lactating hormone prolactin. Oxytocin is also known as the cuddle hormone, as it enhances the bonding experience between mother and child.
The hormone prolactin is essential in making milk. This pretty cool response can also get triggered by just hearing an infant’s cry, even if the little one is not yours. One should also understand that breast size has nothing to do with the ability to breastfeed. Bigger doesn’t mean better!
3. Sexual Pleasure
Babies are obsessed with breasts, but so do individuals.
A lot of researches say that people are more attracted to large breasts with a certain hip to width ratio. This explains why breast implantation surgeries are the most predominant form of plastic surgeries that are being performed across the world.
Yet, some researches show that people prefer boobs of all different shapes and sizes, and medium-sized breasts were rated as statistically most attractive. Boobs are the sex symbol which not only gives pleasure to your partners but also give pleasure to yourselves. Studies show that stimulation of nipples enhanced sexual arousal in 82% of women and 52% of men.
Interestingly an MRI scan that mapped the brain’s response to clitoral and vaginal self-stimulation, found that the same areas lit up when a woman stimulated her nipples. There are a lot of nerve endings in female breasts compared to that of men, this results in greater sexual arousal in women.
4. Breast Cancer
Despite being an incredible source of both nourishment and pleasure, breasts are also unbelievably vulnerable.
Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancers all across the world. The boobs go through growth and modifications throughout one’s life and because of this reason the cells around them are frequently dividing.
These cells that divide every so often are at a higher danger of mutations than the cells that don’t divide. The hormone oestrogen also stimulates breast cell division, increasing the risk of breast cancer.
Researchers have discovered new risk factors of breast cancer such as breast density, age of first pregnancy, and the presence of cancer genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Because of these reasons, women are more susceptible to diseases like breast cancer, benign breast lumps, mastitis and fibroadenoma.
Doctors are advising the women (particularly those above 40) to get themselves checked regularly and get a mammogram once a year. Early detection of any problems like infection or tumour can be easily treated.
Breasts make women feel empowered, liberated and wanted. They give immense superpower to women through which they nourish the future lives on the earth.
Whether they are tube sock or saggy or snoopy, the breasts have become an essential feature of our social life and defining us as a unique species. We Humans should feel gratified for the existence of these blissful boobs!