There is a wide variety of physical, psychological and social problems a woman may experience which may lead them to seek a breast reduction surgery. These symptoms can range from getting unwanted spoken and unspoken sexual attention to severe pain that prevents them from living a normal life.
THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS
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 in the knee, low back pain and chest pain from heart disease.
||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. Some may say that the easiest thing to do is to take off the bra, but even though the bra straps are painful and may even cut into the shoulders, it’s not that simple. Not having the bra support can cause even worse symptoms.
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 & 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, her 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. In addition, teenage girls can sometimes have a difficult relationship with their mothers. In order to even consider breast reduction surgery, a surgeon will need to understand the dynamics of this crucial relationship.
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 accessing whether she will receive support from her significant other. 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.
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