Written by Tunde Ajaja - Nigeria
Breast, a soft (rounded) protruding organ on the upper front of a woman's body, is no doubt an important part of the female anatomy, not only for producing milk needed to feed a new born baby, although that can be enormous, its high-end advantage during sexual activities and the role it plays in the attractiveness of a woman cannot be overemphasised.
Notably, men have theirs, but it is not (always) as sizeable as those of women, and many men lust after these organs, oft making some to skip their breaths, lose concentration or even change focus on sighting them, and for most of them, the bigger, the better.
Call it an instant attention grabber for men and you may not be far from the truth. It excites them and remains a huge delight for them but it also delights its owners; women, making them feel good and sometimes enhancing their comparative advantage. And suffice it to say that it aptly qualifies as one of the most cherished (by women) and most loved (by men) parts of the female body. Such is its importance to both sexes.
Even though big breasts could be a blessing or burden for women, as big breasts have been found to have the likelihood of affecting posture and causing chronic back pain, regardless, more women seem to crave for it now than ever before.
However, it is not uncommon these days to see that women, including young girls, are becoming increasingly endowed in that region. In fact, in those days, girls used to wear vest until they approached 18 but now, bras have taken the centre stage, not just for decoration but because there is indeed something to cover, which underscores the fact that girls and women are getting bigger in that region.
Many have attributed women's bust increase to the fact that many more women are going under the knife for breast enlargement, which has made it difficult to know which one is natural or artificial, but far from that, lifestyle and diet have been found to play a major role in bust size.
This is independent of heredity and the fact that women experience some natural variation in their breast size usually during their period (menstruation) and pregnancy period (pre and post).
An emeritus surgeon, Prof. Michael Baum, who is also an expert in breast cancer, explained that one good reason why more women are getting increased bust size is increased fat consumption, but a nutritionist, Jane Clarke toldDaily Mail that people are eating more of wrong food and that all the calories people consume end up on the hips and breasts coupled with the fact that more women are now taking too much of alcohol which is highly calorific.
Another nutritionist, Dr. Marilyn Glenville, also opined that beyond fat, increase in the breast tissue levels has also been responsible for the increase in breast size. "So, we have to look at what stimulates breast tissue growth, and that is oestrogen, the female sex hormone. Oestrogen is what changes our body shape during puberty," she added.
Glenville explained that there is a strong link between increased oestrogen levels and bigger breasts, adding that there are some breast-enhancing supplements that have made their way into some of the food people consume, making such food items have oestrogenic properties, which have impacted on their breast size. She argued further that a large chunk of the milk consumed by humans come from pregnant cows, thus the milk would be flooded with oestrogen.
She said, "It makes sense to look at the ways in which our exposure to all types of oestrogen, the hormone our own bodies produce and oestrogenic chemicals we come into contact with, has changed over the years.
"Girls today reach puberty earlier than ever before, and are going on to have fewer ¬children and breastfeeding for less time. As a result, we have far more periods than our ancestors would have had and we are exposed to more monthly surges of oestrogen, which stimulates ovulation and is also responsible for the increasing breast sizes."
Meanwhile, a previous study, led by Dr. Karin Michels, from Harvard Medical School, had explained that young girls of nowadays are reaching puberty at an earlier age because of consumption of sugary drinks. Thus, when these girls reach puberty, they begin to show the signs, evident in their breasts and butts.
Michels said, "Our study adds to increasing concern about the widespread consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks among children and adolescents. Our study suggests that age of first menstruation (menarche) occurred earlier among girls with the highest consumption of drinks sweetened with added sugar. These findings are important in the context of earlier puberty onset among girls."
Going by Glenville's explanation, the fact that more girls reach puberty exposes them to more oestrogen from their young age, which tends to have its own effect on their anatomy, especially their breasts.
One other explanation for the rising size of boobs, according to experts, is the use of contraceptive pills. In a report on softpedia.com, a consultant endocrinologist, Prof. Pierre-Marc Bouloux, was quoted as saying, "There is a tendency for the pill to stimulate breast growth. However, modern versions of the pill contain far less estrogen than their older counterparts."
Bouloux explained that there are some other products that come as consumable items, like some chewing gum, which have some oestrogenic properties that could enhance breast size, adding that certain chemicals in polluted water and industrial wastes could mimic oestrogen and produce the same boob-boosting factor in the women.
But, in the words of Dr. Joanna Scurr, a breast biomechanics expert and principal lecturer in biomechanics at the University of Portsmouth, breast sizes are increasing because of the higher proportion of fats in them, adding that junk food, tinned food, canned drinks, and plastic bottles could also be responsible, due to the xenoestrogen.
Therefore, the increase in breast sizes in recent times could be placed down to increased fat consumption by women, rising levels of breast tissue, eating junks and fatty meals, drinking sugary drinks and use of contraceptive pills, more so because breast tissue has been found to be extremely sensitive to hormones. These are independent of hereditary, menstruation and pregnancy/breastfeeding.
Commenting on the study, a medical practitioner, Dr. Rotimi Adesanya, explained that apart from increase in fat diets, use of family planning drugs are some of the things responsible for the increasing breast sizes.
He said, "The increase is due to increase in fats because breast is made of fatty tissues. So, if the fat is much in the body, definitely, the one in the breast will be much as well. So, the level of fat a person eats is an indirect proportion of the person's breasts size. For some, it runs in the family, and for people that tend to be obese or big in size, they also tend to have a large breast.
"Also, use of hormonal drugs, such as contraceptive pills, could increase breast size. Diet is also a very important factor. The fatty diets include sugary drinks, margarines, etc., and too much of oil is not very good, and that is why we advise people to take more of fruits and vegetables."