Disproportionately large breasts can worry some women. They can cause backache, and the pressure from bra straps may cause grooves in the shoulders. High-impact sports such as jogging or aerobics can be uncomfortable. Clothes that fit properly can be hard to find.
The first essential is a well-fitting bra. Most stores have assistants that can help choose the correct size of a bra.
Choosing a Bra
- If the straps dig into your shoulders, the bra back size is probably too big, as the main support for the breasts should come from the strap around your body and the cups
- If your bra rides up your back, the bra is too big around your body – the strap should fit around your ribcage
- Lift up your arms. Did everything stay in place? If your bra pulls up across your breasts you need a smaller size bra, probably with a larger cup size
- If your bra wrinkles, your cup size is too big – the breasts should be in the cups with a smooth outline
- If your breasts bulge out of the top or sides of your cup, and your bra looks lumpy under clothes, your cup size is too small or the wrong shape
- If wires poke out at the front or dig in under your arms, the cup size is too small – the wires should lie flat against your body and surround your breasts
- Look for a bra with two or three fastenings or hooks – these give the best support
- Underwires give good support, but the upper end of the wire should not press into the breast tissue near the armpit
Breast Reduction Surgery
Discuss the pros and cons of breast reduction surgery with your doctor. This does not commit you to anything and may help you decide whether you really would like surgery. In the UK, it is unlikely you would be able to have the operation on the National Health Service.
Breast reduction surgery takes 2–3 hours. Skill is needed to make both breasts look the same shape and size.
As with breast enlargement surgery, it is important to find a skilled surgeon (see choosing a cosmetic surgeon). With discussion with the surgeon, the size that you wish to end up with can be decided.
The surgeon removes a wedge of breast tissue and reshapes the remaining skin and tissue. The nipple will be moved to a new position. Usually you will end up with scars right round the nipple, in the crease line under the breast and along a line joining the nipple to the crease line. These scars take about a year to fade. The scar around the nipple fades first.
Problems. A number of problems can occur after breast reduction surgery. There is often some loss of feeling from the nipple – often touch can be felt, but there may be loss of erotic feeling.
- Breastfeeding may not be possible afterwards.
- The incisions may take a long time to heal, especially round the nipple, and the central part of the incision in the crease line.
- The scars from the incisions usually fade in 6–12 months but can become thickened and unsightly.
- As with all operations, there is a risk of infection and internal bleeding.
- There are also the associated risks of having a general anaesthetic.
First published on: embarrassingproblems.com
Reviewed and edited by: Dr Victoria Harmer
Last updated: October 2020