With breast sizes increasing and female puberty now beginning as young as the age of eight, more women are going under the knife to have the size of their breasts reduced.
Mammoplasty, more commonly referred to as breast reduction, involves the removal of excess skin, fat and tissue from a woman’s breasts.
Nicole O’Brien, the practice manager to Simon Weight at the Hollywood Breast Clinic in Nedlands, said Dr Weight’s practice had seen a significant increase in women opting to have breast reduction.
Ms O’Brien said breast reduction was a medical, not cosmetic, procedure where patients could claim from Medicare and their private health cover.
“All patients before the surgery suffer the usual litany of problems … including neck ache, back ache, and tram-lining from bra straps,” she said.
“Many of these women also suffer low self-esteem.”
Natassja Wynhorst, 19, of Bedfordale, underwent breast reduction surgery in December last year and said it had changed her life for the better.
She described her breasts growing a cup size every month last year, reaching a G cup up until she had the surgery.
Ms Wynhorst said before the surgery she lacked confidence and felt embarrassed by her “big boobs”.
“It was very hard to find dresses and clothes that would fit me,” she said.
“I got into the habit of just wearing baggy shirts because it was all I could fit into while hiding my boobs at the same time.”
She recalled how it was impossible to find a bikini that would fit her G cup size breasts.
Ms Wynhorst said she would recommend the surgery “a million times over” to women who suffer pain and discomfort from having large breasts.
Large breasts are becoming more common in Australia. In the 1960s the average breast size was a 10B. Today, a 14C is the average.
President of the Endocrine Society Australia, Helena Teede, said the main reason for an increase in breast size was an increase in women’s body weight.
“Australian women are putting on a substantial amount of weight [on average],” Professor Teede said.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the weight range.
“As a generality, the whole female population is increasing in weight, at around 600 to 800 grams per year.”
Professor Teede said that in Australia two in three women were overweight.
She said the increase in breast reduction surgery was no surprise to most health professionals.
“For women, the main storage sight for body fat is in the breast tissue,” she said.
“As our [women’s] body fat increases, our breast size increases.
“However, this is variable where some women put on more weight in the breast than others when their body weight increases.”
Sheldon Rose, 19, of Rossmoyne, who is 153cm and has a petite frame, said her 10HH breasts were “unbearable”.
Ms Rose said her back was unable to support the two kilograms of extra weight she had to carry from her neck, and that breast reduction enabled her to live a pain-free life.
“My decision was made when my surgeon told me that because of how tiny I was and how badly the weight of my boobs was affecting my back, I wouldn’t be able to have children as my back wouldn’t be able to support itself through pregnancy,” she said.
“That was pretty much the decider for me.”
Ms Rose underwent the surgery in October 2013.
Before the surgery, she struggled to find clothes and bras to fit her.
She said that sleazy comments and mean jokes often made about her chest size made living with her large breasts worse.
Having gone through puberty relatively young, Ms Rose said she was almost fully developed at the age of 10.
Her large breasts made aspects of everyday life difficult, and exercise painful.
“I could only ever really go for high intensity walks,” she said.
She said the surgery has made her happier than she thought possible, and that for the first time since developing breasts she has felt comfortable in her body.