Breast Awareness Among Children and Adolescents

Concern about problems of the breast is often noted in children and adolescents. This article aims to discuss the issues of the breast in children and adolescents.

Normal breast development first appears shortly after birth and then at the commencement of puberty. The timing of the breast development, however, varies from person to person.


Some of the new-borns have the following problems.

  • Ahelia – Absence of nipples
  • Amastia – Absence of breast tissue
  • Polymastia – Extra breast
  • Polythelia – Extra nipple
  • Breast enlargement
  • Infection of breast tissues
  • Breast abscesses
  • Nipple discharge

Children Between 6 Months and 9 Years:

Girls may get a premature thelarche – an isolated breast development which can be early sign of approaching puberty.

Girls in Teenage:

Girls get macromastia or enlarged breasts which can be treated with proper bra fittings and physical therapy.

Breast Asymmetry:

Girls may have asymmetrical breasts at puberty.

Absence of Breast Development:

When a girl does not develop signs of puberty in the form of breast development by the age of 13, her breast development is considered delayed. This must be immediately taken care of.

Breast Mass:

If a breast mass is detected in children, it is best to consult a paediatric specialist/surgeon. Surgical procedures for this should be done with caution as they should not affect future normal breast development.

Prevention/Early Recognition:

It is important that girls be taught to self-examine their breasts for abnormal masses. Ideally, they should be taught this when their breast development and their menstrual cycle commences. This should be cultivated into a habit and not something that is done once and forgotten.

Importance in Boys:

Teenage boys will have prominent tender tissue in the nipple area during puberty. In most cases, this tissue will go down in size over 2 to 3 years. If it does not, then the assistance of a medical professional must be sought for any hormonal or endocrine imbalance.


Dr Pushkala.M.S
Consultant Pediatrician,
Kauvery Hospital Chennai