Denouncing The Double D’s: A Defense Of Breast Reduction Surgery
“My boobs are too big!” is not a sentence you hear a lot. Unless you have large breasts, it may seem like a dumb thing to complain about. However, overly large breasts are one of the most overlooked issues in women’s health.
Breasts are a hot topic, because, hey, who doesn’t love boobs? They’re soft and comfortable, and humans stimulate the nipples during sex. We see breasts as a common cultural indicator of maturation in girls and women. For young girls, picking out your first bra is a step to adulthood. As you grow, depending on your body type, your breasts will change. There are many sizes of breasts, but it seems like we only celebrate large breasts when women express discomfort or dissatisfaction with them.
As someone who’s had larger-than-average breasts for most of my life, I can tell you it’s a legitimate struggle. From not finding clothes that fit, to being unable to enjoy certain exercises, and the amount of money it takes to find a bra, having big boobs seems like more of a curse than a blessing. Especially when it comes with men looking down your shirt much of the time. It’s no wonder that more and more women are turning to breast reductions.
If you look at the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s break down, breasts are large fat deposits that sit on the sternum area. In smaller women, they can be less of a problem, in women with breasts cup size D and above, it can be downright painful. Several women complain about the weight of large breasts. Imagine walking with weights on your chest all day, it gets old and tiring quick. The larger the breast, the heavier it gets. Eva Taylor Grant’s article at Bustle.com, mentions carrying extra weight can have adverse health effects for women, “from shoulder grooving, to back and neck pain, sweating, and rashes.” I can attest to having experienced a few of these effects.
The reality of large breasts is, you’re hardly ever comfortable. The fashion industry doesn’t always consider that women with large breasts might have small waists. Hourglass figures, like mine, mean anything designed to fit around my waist will stretch around my chest. A V-neck will show way more cleavage than I intended, and dresses can be a nightmare to look for. Bras are another shopping experience from Hell, as most major brands won’t carry bras designed to fit people with odd body types. I special ordered a few bras before, but they don’t fit well because I can’t try them on in person.
Women all over the US run into these problems daily. The discomfort of trying on bras or shirts, then leaving with something unattractive. Settling for loose clothes that hang because buying custom shirts is too expensive. Looking for swimsuits for the summer, only to opt for a t-shirt or a one piece. The disappointment is palpable. During my teen years, when it was obvious I would be top heavy, I remember crying in changing rooms because the clothes for girls my age weren’t made for girls like me.
According to Dr. Brian Eichenberg, who weighed in on Grant’s article, breast reductions are common, with plastic surgeons performing over 90,000 reductions a year in the US alone. Socially though, there is a stigma. Women, myself included, hold on to guilt for not liking their large breasts. This guilt can come from the prodding of boyfriends and friends or relatives. As someone who’s considered breast reduction surgery, I can say it’s not always for looks. I’d like to one day be able to go into a store and find nice clothes for a decent price. I also want to perform simple tasks without being hindered by my breasts.
People have suggested losing weight if it’s such an issue. Well, buddy, I’ve got news for you. If I want to exercise, I need an exercise bra. One that holds me in and prevents me from flopping all over the place as I jog from one point to another. I’ve tried exercise before, the only results I achieved were sore boobs and heat rash, and cuts where the straps of the two bras I had to wear cut into my skin.
We often make women with large breasts self-conscious about them, even as young girls. We see cases all the time where girls are objectified because of the way their body is developing. Teasing comments from friends and relatives make you over-think because the instinctive response is wondering what is wrong with you. They have proven it through studies that women with larger breasts have lower self-esteem and are more prone to eating disorders than women with smaller breasts.
It was sometimes painful for me to walk around in a t-shirt because I would often get comments aimed at my breasts. A group of frat boys once felt the need to inform me I had “Huge Boobs” while I was walking home from a class. I spent much of my developmental years wearing a baggy jacket to avoid those scenarios.
The combination of negative psychological and physical effects prove breast reduction is more than a cosmetic pursuit. If you think this might be an issue for you, talk to your doctor. Your health and happiness are your own to dictate so you must learn about all your options.
Even if large breasts aren’t an issue for you, let’s keep talking about it. The benefits of breast reduction can extend to a decreased risk for Breast Cancer. Dr. Eichenberg explains to Bustle that this is due to the reduced amount of breast tissue. This is a point to bring up with your doctor when you next see them, especially if your medical history puts you at risk. Some men are also broaching the topic of breast reductions.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has talked about Gynecomastia, or overdeveloped breasts. It is a condition that can affect boys and men at any age. Most often, it is caused by changes in hormone levels, genetics, obesity or certain kinds of medication. As in women, these changes can lead to emotional discomfort and a negative self-image.
Everyone doesn’t need breast reductions though they are an option. Anyone with a genuine concern should be comfortable talking about this with their doctor or plastic surgeon. It also helps to research on your own. The final decision is, as always, in your hands, so let’s start the discussion.