There is a wide variety of physical, psychological and social problems a woman may experience if they have large breasts, which may lead them to seek a breast reduction surgery. These symptoms can range from getting unwanted spoken and unspoken attention, to substantial pain that prevents them from living a normal life.
Physical Effects of Large Breasts
Studies have shown that women living with physical pain due to large, heavy breasts compared their symptoms to people living with chronic medical conditions such as arthritis, low back pain and chest pain. This is why insurance sometimes covers the cost of breast reduction: the physical symptoms can truly interfere with your quality of life.
Because a woman with large breasts has extra weight to carry, the alignment of her spine and her center of gravity can be thrown off. The shoulders and neck are pushed forward and all the attached muscles begin to strain. In addition, some women have a significant size difference in each of their breasts which can lead to greater back and shoulder pain on one side. Bras for large breasts can cause grooves and substantial pain, but taking a bra off can be even worse, because of the lack of support.
This heavy weight can account for an array of problems including:
- Chronic back, neck and shoulder pain
- Development of bone spurs on the spine
- Medical conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and spinal disc problems
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Headaches and migraines
- Poor posture and rounded shoulders
- Shortness of breath
- Skin irritations, bacterial infection & rashes (intertrigo), under/between the breasts
- Sagging breasts and stretch marks in the breast and upper chest area
- Limitations of physical activities
- Breast and chest pain especially while exercising
- Numbness and tingling of the fingers
- Trouble sleeping comfortably
- Bra-strap grooving and shoulder cuts, often with bleeding and long-term scarring
- Shoulder muscle and joint problems such as rotator cuff tears and thoracic outlet syndrome
Psychological and Social Implications
Societal and family attitudes can profoundly affect how each woman develops her own personal view of her body and her breasts. This judgment is usually influenced by several critical factors in a woman's life including adolescent experiences and her family's, partner's and society's attitudes towards breasts and breast reduction surgery. Not understanding these factors can cause a woman to have the inability to communicate certain wants and desires about her breasts to her surgeon. This could possibly lead to disappointment after the surgery.
Formed by her mother's and father's views of her own body as well as her mother's body, a woman will acquire a specific attitude about her breasts, especially as they begin to develop during the adolescent years. If a girl is the first to develop breasts among her friends and classmates, she may never become entirely comfortable with her body, even as she becomes an adult.
Poor-self-esteem, shyness and self-consciousness may develop especially if rude or insensitive comments are made, or envy from classmates is expressed. This could lead to slouching and poor posture, wearing larger clothing that doesn't fit, overeating in an attempt to balance their body proportions, and to some degree, social isolation.
Another crucial relationship that affects a woman's decision to have breast reduction is one with the spouse/partner. A woman considering surgery will do herself a favor by realistically assessing whether she will receive support from her significant other. Our patients have found it is important to explain, especially to men, the technical details associated with the surgery as well as to reassure them that she will not be flat-chested. The spouse/partner needs to feel comfortable about the situation in order for the potential patient to also feel comfortable with her decision.
Though society may deem large breasts as being sexy, large-breasted women may feel differently. Having carried full, heavy breasts most of their lives, they may want people to pay less attention to the size and shape of their breasts and more to who they are inside. In order to increase the success of breast reduction surgery, a woman also needs to be aware of who she is as well as her relationships with others and with herself, especially with her body.
At your breast reduction consultation with Dr. Golshani, he will ensure that you are listened to, so that together you can come up with a plan for your best course of action.