Different Breast Shapes and Types - Shens Clinic
3 Killiney Road, Winsland House 1, #09-08, Singapore 239519

Different Breast Shapes and Types

Breast Shapes and Types

Breasts come in many different shapes and sizes, just like everyone's body is unique. That's why it's hard to say what is considered to be normal breasts. Yet, a lot of women are curious to know how their boobs measure up and whether they can do something to enhance their cleavage.

This article will look at breast size and shape differences, pointing out the most common shape and the least common shape in addition to other facts that should be mentioned. Keep reading.

What Determines Breast Shape and Size?

It is no secret that one of the major factors surrounding the shape, density and size of the boobs is genetics. Breasts are made of fatty and glandular tissue. It is the amount of fat present that determines the size. The pectoral muscles that sit underneath don't play a role in the size, but they can affect appearance.

Now, there are other factors that impact the size of your breasts throughout your life. One of them is age. As you get older, you will notice your breasts sagging alongside other changes in your body.

Fluctuations in weight will also affect the breast shape and size. Putting on weight will cause the boobs to bulk up while losing weight can make them smaller.

Moreover, pregnancy and hormones may change how the fat tissue gets distributed in the chest, altering both the shape and size of your bust. Plus, when you're pregnant, breastfeeding makes the breasts swell due to milk production.

Last but not least, there are certain body conditions, different from pregnancy, that can affect the breast shape.

What Determines Breast Shape and Size?

Conditions that Affect Breast Shape


This is a condition in which the lobules are abnormally enlarged. The lobules are part of the mammary glands that are in charge of milk production. Being a non-cancerous condition, adenosis does not normally need any treatment, but it can increase the breast size for the time being.


This is inflammation of the breasts that occurs due to clogged milk ducts which cause infections. The condition should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. In most cases, it takes place in breastfeeding women and can alter the breast shape.

Juvenile hypertrophy

This is a condition that affects girls during puberty and presents as excessive breast growth. The causes are not known to doctors yet but if there is something positive about it is that it occurs rarely. There are theories that genetics and hormonal fluctuations are to blame for the problem, but science does not yet have solid proof that this is the cause.

Breast cancer

This is a type of cancer that takes place in the breast tissue. It is kicked off as some of the cells start to grow abnormally and form lumps.

What About the Areolae?

woman with hand over her nipples

Just like with breasts, the size, shape and colour of the areola and nipple are largely determined by genetics, but they may change with time as a woman goes through puberty, pregnancy, periods, and ageing. The "normal" shape and size of the areola varies a great deal among people, and there is no particular standard about it.

The standard size of the areola is about 4 cm in diameter. Some folks have large areolas that can be fixed with areola reduction surgery. Even though they may seem pointless, in women's areolas serve important functions.

The tissue they are made of contracts during breastfeeding, cold weather and sexual arousal so that the nipples can actually get erect. During lactation, the darker colour of the areola helps the baby find the source of milk.

What About the Nipples?

Here are some variations of the nipple that Singapore women tend to have:

  • Protruding: they stay erect all the time, and there is no need for stimulation
  • Everted nipple: it remains erect as well but is positioned less away from the areola
  • Flat nipples: these may not always erect with stimulation, and they tend to stay at the level of the areolas
  • Bumpy: there are small bumps in the area; they also go by the name Montgomery glands
  • Inverted nipples: these don't protrude out like the other types of nipples; instead they
  • Unilateral inverted nipples: one is everted, and the other is inverted
  • Hairy nipples: hairy nipples occur in about one-third of women
  • Supernumerary: this is when someone has an extra nipple; don't worry, it's normal
  • Puffy nipples: These nipple variations are not exclusively related to Singapore women. They occur in people around the world since everyone has a unique body.

Different Types of Breast Shapes

Very few girls have symmetrical breasts. Breasts are unique, and they don't necessarily fall into a certain category, but if we could classify them, there would be several types of boobs.

Closed-set breasts

Closed-set breasts almost have no space in between. They are positioned at the centre of the chest. There is more distance between them and the underarms and shoulders.

Side-set breasts

With this one, there is more space between one breast and the other, unlike with closed-set breasts. They are positioned further apart from one another and closer to the underarms. This breast type needs a front close bra.

Athletic breasts

These breast shapes are characterised by less breast tissue and more muscle. They also appear wider.

Tear drop breasts

They have a denser bottom resembling a teardrop. This look is often sought after by breast augmentation patients. That's why there are teardrop-shaped implants.

Asymmetrical breasts

Another common breast shape, here the boobs are uneven, meaning one breast is visually bigger than the other. At times, it can be a whole cup bigger. Breast asymmetry can be concealed with different types of bras.

Relaxed breasts

With these breast shapes, the nipples point downwards as the breast tissue is looser.

East-west breasts

East-west breasts are called that way because the nipples point outward, which is to say they point in opposite directions. The best choice for a woman with east-west breasts would be moulded cup bras.

Conical breasts

These breasts are smaller, and instead of being round, they resemble cones. The breast shape is more widespread in women with smaller breasts.

Slender breasts

These breast shapes are long and narrow, and the nipples here point downward as well. A push-up bra can help lift them a bit.

Archetype breasts

These are the so-called standard or typical types of breasts.

Bell-shaped breasts

Breasts that fall into the bell shape are round at the bottom and narrow at the top, resembling a bell. A great option for a bell shape is using a balconette bra or a bra with moulded cups.

Round breasts

Round breasts are full, with an equal amount of fats at the bottom and top. There is breast symmetry here.

If you don't think your breasts follow any of the above patterns or rather fit into a mixture of types, you should not be concerned. As mentioned earlier, breasts are unique, and that's just one of the things that set you apart from other people.

Are Asymmetrical Breasts Normal?

woman with asymmetrical breasts

Yes, they are. The body is not perfectly symmetrical, so it's not uncommon to have one breast that is bigger, wider or differently shaped than the other, just like it's completely normal to have one ear taller than the other.

The difference in the breasts might be minor and barely noticeable, or it can be quite obvious. In some people, one of the breasts is a whole cup size bigger than the other. The Emory University School of Medicine, USA has stated that in more than half of the cases, it is the left breast that is larger than the right (also demonstrated by peer-reviewed studies).

Breast asymmetry could be fixed with aesthetic treatments if it's a problem that is bothering you.

How Do I Know if the Shape of Breasts is Abnormal, and Can Their Appearance be Changed?

The best way to know what feels normal and what doesn't is to observe how your breasts change throughout the month, including during and after your period. Around the time you menstruate, it is totally normal for your breasts to feel lumpy and tender. After that, they should become softer, and the discomfort will disappear.

This is the perfect time to massage your breasts to get used to the texture. It will help you notice any lumps in the future should they happen. Run four fingers over the skin using circular motions.

You should consult a specialist if you notice these sudden breast changes, as they can be a sign of an underlying problem such as breast cancer:

  • Dimpling of the skin
  • Unexplained tenderness, irritation or redness
  • Unexplained sensitivity or pain in the skin or tissues around the breast
  • Discharge from your nipples
  • Inversion of one or both nipples
  • Swelling of the breasts that is not related to your menstrual cycle

There are ways in which the shapes and sizes of the breasts can be augmented, either through breast fat transfer or with breast implants. The decision is not to be taken lightly. A lot of factors have to be considered before you go down the path of surgery, such as the desired breast size, your current physical state, future pregnancy, etc.


Shens Clinic, 3 Killiney Road, Winsland House 1, #09-08, Singapore 239519

Monday – Friday: 09:00am – 06:00pm
Saturday: 09:00am – 02:00pm
Sun and PH: Closed

(Strictly by appointment only)

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