Let’s talk about breast reductions

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Bike Boobs
I’m 35, and finally coming to the realization that I just really don’t like my large breasts. So, I’ve started thinking about breast reduction, but find myself conflicted. Something about it feels like cheating, or betraying, the body that otherwise has served me so well.

I would love to hear from the Offbeat Homies — both from folks who have had reductions or who have thought about it but took another course. -Claire

I have thought about getting a breast reduction since the moment in Junior High where they became DDs, seemingly overnight. One of my closest friends, who had the same size breasts as myself, got hers reduced from DDs to As — and she was ecstatic about it! Yeah, the process sucked, but the end result has been bringing her joy for years. I remember being super-jealous as I watched her pore through porn magazines, getting to hand-pick what her new breasts would look like (breast size + nipple fashion).

90% of the reasons I’ve never lopped ’em off is of my crippling fears of doctors, surgery, stitches, pain, etc. Then there’s the 10% reason of, “aw, I feel like I’d miss the big ‘ol girls.” (They’re good cuddlers.)

Who else here has considered altering their boobies? What all did you take into account when making your ultimate choice?

Comments on Let’s talk about breast reductions

  1. I had a large-ish reduction done about five months ago. Doctors had been mentioning it my for as long as u could remember, but it never went anywhere. The last time I went into physical therapy for my back and shoulder problems, I couldn’t use the machines properly because my Rita were in the way. In the end, i was in constant agony. They removed five pounds of flesh all together. The surgery sounds really scary but it wasn’t bad at all- and I have serious medical phobia. I had some splitting exactly where it’s expected and a few spit stitches which was uh….. Interesting. But truly overall, I am thrilled. I did research on possible doctors before hand and talked to people who actually had it done. Also keep in mind the internet can be deceiving in researching this topic. The professionals show pictures of their best work and people seem to want to document their nightmare experiences. My nipples didn’t fall off, nothing came unraveled and sometimes I don’t wear a bra for days at a time. It rules!

    • “Also keep in mind the internet can be deceiving in researching this topic. The professionals show pictures of their best work and people seem to want to document their nightmare experiences. ”

      This is so true about anything body related you research on the internet, especially in the case of forums/fb groups etc for specific health conditions. Not because the people on them are bad people or anything but because these forums get used more when people are suffering and in need, those whose treatment is working or whose conditions resolves tend to stop using these resources so their stories are not as prominent or sometimes are just completely missing.

  2. There was a time, mainly in my early teens, that I wanted to reduce my 32G’s more than anything in the world. I was a tomboy, who at age 12, kind of exploded into a very feminine body. I was kind of consumed by the idea of reducing, and I researched my options into my early twenties. My mother, as well as several doctors told me to wait, as I was very young and it was unusual to do the procedure on someone so young without significant abnormalities. I was, of course, very pissed off.
    Now that I’m pushing 30, I’m very happy I didn’t go through with any operation. All I needed were a couple of really well-fitting bras, to know what kind of clothes fit and flattered my body, and exercise to keep my back strong. Now I’m at a point at which I love my body (as does my partner). Sometimes I find they are getting in the way, but my boobs are part of me. I fill out a dress like no-ones business and I love them.

  3. I had a coworker that went from 38F to 38DD. She wished she had more taken off, but the military (she was a Marine when she had the surgery) did not want to take any more out. She said one of these days she would love to take more off when she had the time off (seemed like kids, work, and money came up. At least in the military she did not have to worry about kids, as she did not have kids at the time. The Marines gave her as much time as she needed and also it was free in the military). She said that Marines were more than happy to do it because it was interfering with her work (which it did).

  4. i had a reduction 5 years ago when I was 30. I had 34GG and took me down to a D. The recovery is absolutely horrific, there’s no denying that so prepare yourself. I had never had surgery or stitches or broken a bone before so this was quite traumatic for me. I basically needed a nurse for two weeks. Couldn’t brush my teeth on my own. And the scarring is quite prominent for at least a year. Looking back I would have waited until after I had kids cause it did interfere with breastfeeding quite a bit and they’ve grown back quite a bit. I’m still nursing my second hold now so haven’t bothered to get properly measured again and will wait until nursing is over but I’d say I’m at least a DD right now. But it has saved my neck and back quite a bit of pain. My nipples are ever so slightly different in position. Enough to annoy me but not enough for anyone else to notice. No regrets here but I recommend knowing the reality of recovery and definitely waiting if you want kids

  5. This is something I’m definitely going to do someday. If I wear a bra with only one or two rows of hooks-and-eyes, I’ll be in pain by the end of the day. No matter how well it fits, I have either wear a second bra whose band sits lower, or else one with a really wide band. This is because I have a small band and a large cup. (Victoria’s Secret doesn’t cover my size.) I don’t need As, but I do want them probably halved. It’ll be easier to find clothing that fits (especially bras). It’ll be easier to sit upright throughout the day. It’ll be easier to exercise. I’ll be able to see my feet when I walk down stairs. I’ll be able to eat without dropping crumbs into my V-neck. They’ll still be comfy pillows for whomever sleeps on me. They just won’t be overwhelming anymore. But I’m in my early 20s, and haven’t had offspring. During the pregnancy and nursing process, breast size can dramatically increase or decrease, and there’s really no way to predict it. Ergo, I have to wait until all the babies I’ll ever have are walking, if I want to control the size the end up.

    One of my best friends got her H and I reduced to Ds several years ago, and could not be happier. But I’ve never heard of anyone having regrets after this kind of surgery!

    • I actually knew a girl in college who had a breast reduction already done, when she was in high school. She had recently lost weight (some coming off her breasts) and told me that she wished she wished she had waited on the breast reduction, and had worked on getting her body where she was happy with it first – indicating that she might not have wanted the surgery. Personally, I suspect she didn’t have the chance to get comfortable with her body and accept it’s changes prior to the surgery, since she was so young when she had it.

      Either way, I have no personal experience or understanding of reductions, as I would fall on the side of wanting them enlarged. The grass is always greener… 😉

    • Victoria’s secret doesn’t carry most sizes, and their stuff is shoddy (I have found). For the love of Crom, please, please, please, go to a Nordstom’s and have a fitting done. The fitters know what they are doing (VS does not, IMO) and they carry everything – even 32 J’s. Getting the right fit bra is a life-changing experience (I was in tears at least). And *pretty* bras too.

      Yeah, they’re pricey (I pay about $60-$70 apiece for mine) – but when you need engineering by Boeing to keep the gals up and comfy…… it’s worth it. And once you find the style and size you like you can usually find them cheaper online. (The Panache line is really good value in my experience.)

      • Definitely get sized at Nordstrom or, if your area has one, a top shelf bra shop. Also, worth remembering that bras have a short lifetime of about 6 months to one year, and that is shorter if you have a large bust. I also recommend Figleaves dot com and barenecessities dot com once you have been fitted, though, as with jeans, bras fit and size differently in every brand. Good luck! And if reduction is right for you, you can make it work 🙂

      • I have smaller breasts (34C), and Victoria’s Secret works well for me. I also prefer plain bras in bright solid colors or neutral colors, rather than anything “pretty” (lace is super itchy no matter what and drives me bananas; also I don’t care for the aesthetic). I’ve noticed a lot of the higher end shops don’t carry bras that are un-embellished while still looking nice; it seems like they are all either completely plain (no or few fun colors) or lace everywhere. I strongly dislike decorative underthings in general (much too feminine for me– identifying as non-gendered makes the whole shopping for underwear experience kind of weird for me), and I wish a lot of the nicer shops would carry things that suited my tastes, but as yet, they appear not to.

        That being said, I have a friend who has very large breasts, and she agrees that Nordstrom is the best when it comes to bra fittings, especially for larger sizes, even more so than our local specialty shops.

        • Yeah, I probably shouldn’t harsh on VS so much but they were the source of much frustration back when I was a very self-conscious teen. If they carry your size and you’re happy with the product then that’s all that matters. My sister (who is well within their size range) shops there.

          I’d still encourage everyone who wears bras to go get a proper fitting done. Even if you don’t buy from the high-end shops they’ll still measure you. I see so many ill fitting bras and I just feel bad. I remember how much it hurt and how much better it felt to switch to something that *fit*. (I’m an 34HH and VS/ Macy’s kept trying to put me in things like 42DD because that was what they carried.)

          • I totally understand. I kind of hate them for their advertising, but they are the only store that seems to reliably carry what is comfortable for me both in terms of fit and style.

            And yeah, they are basically the worst at fittings, as are Macy’s and a lot of other places. I’ve never had a real fitting, but I also feel just fine in the bras I wear (small boobs blessing, I guess?), so I’ve never really thought about doing so. Perhaps I should… I don’t know. I kind of hate bra shopping in person actually, and usually just buy what I know fits online so I don’t have to deal with the salespeople and their expectations about what I “should” like. :/

          • VS’s sizing is pretty limited, but most of their stuff actually holds up incredibly well. I have had discussions with multiple friends about this (embarrassingly, because we are literally sporting decade old bras, but they hold up! I am in awe of lifespan of a VS bra). Their brand has changed in more recent years (I’ve been wearing VS since the mid 90’s – before “PINK”) and is geared towards a younger crowd now, so it’s no surprise to me, that in my 30’s, I’m having less luck finding things that fit.

            This aside, bralettes are king (queen?)! I wear almost strictly these (the vintage looking bra with the fat band like a crop top spliced with a[n upper] half corset). Redirecting the support to my midsection has done wonders for my back. I buy these at Macy’s mostly, but VS has them too, and I own a couple good ones from there. I’m just a 34D though. Seems to be about as high as they go sometimes.

            On topic, I’ve considered a reduction (to an A or B), and envy the “ballerina body” but the rest of me is curvy too, and I don’t think I’d be comfortable with the altered proportions. I’ve always wanted to run though, and that’s basically impossible. My husband loves my boobs (and caught me googling “how to run with boobs” recently), but all good things must come to an end.

            I’m thinking maybe later in life – in my 50’s or 60’s, when they start to lose shape anyway and I have higher risk of cancer (runs in my family), I may pull an Angelina and take them out altogether, and replace them with something perky and small.

      • I wear between a 38-40 GG-K, depending on the brand. Nordstrom’s has failed me consistently every single time I’ve gone there. First, the like to measure you and, after a certain cup size, the measuring formula simply doesn’t work anymore…at least not for me. Not even close. Second, their larger bras are hideous…I have never found a sexy bra there ever. Third, for the most part, their customer service freakin’ sucks.

        After so many bad experiences, I spent a lot of time online learning how to fit a bra by the way your old bra fits instead of by measurements (worked like a charm!) and started ordering bras online from the UK. Then I discovered a specialty bra store in Seattle called ZOVO and I go there at least once a year to see what’s new and if my size has changed. Sure, it’s a bit expensive, but if I find something I like I can always find it cheaper online the next time I need a bra.

  6. I had 32Gs before getting pregnant. I have always said I would wait until after having kids to have a reduction. But now that I’m 23 weeks along with my first and my chest has gone up to a 34I, (with no end in sight….) I wonder whether I should have gotten it done earlier?? The extra weight is really putting additional stress on my back which is already dealing with carrying my baby belly. But I TOTALLY second,third, fourth getting appropriate bras. When I discovered higher end bras (Freya, Chantelle) that had large sizes AND still looked cute, it changed my life. The prices are high, but they last a lot longer than the cheaper bras which stretch out and never gave me a good shape anyway.

    • Before pregnancy my breasts were a 32FF I’m now 37 weeks and they’ve gone up to a whopping 38GG. I knew that my cup size would increase, but was very suprised by the increase in back size. I would agree that getting a properly fitted bra absolutely essential. Here in the UK Bravissimo seem to be the best place to go as they stock higher end bras that are still pretty, while most of the other high street stores don’t seem to stock a huge variety of sizes.

      • The increase in back size can be temporary – I’d recommend getting some extenders as the cup size increase is more likely to stay with you while you’re nursing. The band size increase is partly to do with retained water and a little extra fat reserves, but also relates to an expanded chest cavity to make up for the reduction in lung capacity caused by the baby taking up space there!

  7. i had two reductions done when I was in my early 20’s. I went from a 36I to 36d. It was by far the best decision I have ever made. The first surgery was hard, I developed a divot due to internal bleeding so a second surgery was done to remove more tissue and reshape. It’s been about 10years- the gals have grown to larger than I would like but…so has my waistline so I’m pretty sure I could work on it if I chose. It made how I felt about my body in my head match how my body felt on the outside. I would still do it again in a heartbeat.

  8. I had one done in college – went from a 36F to a 36C (which is now a D). It was by far the best thing I have ever done in my life, no lie. Recovery was pretty horrible (pulling drains out, omg), but I would do it again in a heart beat. I had asked for a B cup, but my doc went with what he thought would be proportional. I guess I can’t blame him, but I would have really liked them a bit smaller, esp since they ended up being a bit larger after a year’s time.

    I’m still a well endowed woman, but the pain in my shoulders is gone. If I want to go braless, I totally can. I can even run now (with the right bra, of course!).

  9. I’m really excited to see this discussion here! I’ve always intended to get a reduction, just waiting until I have kids or decide not to have kids. I am even more sure I want a reduction since recently I lost weight & my band sized dropped and I lost nothing from my actually breasts, causing me to go up 2 cup sizes. I know, plenty of ladies would love to lose weight & not have it come off their chest but it’s made the already difficult task of finding bras that fit nearly impossible. I do think I will miss my ridiculously sized boobs a little. It might sound weird or vain but they are part of my identity. Still I’d love to worry less about finding bras that fit right & whether clothes that look fine on other girls look obscene on me. Luckily I don’t have many back or shoulder issues due to my breats so far, but I’m definitely concerned that will become an issue as I get older. I’m glad to read about the previous commenters stories about not regretting it & the pain of recovery being worth it!

  10. If you’re considering it I would definitely advise looking up a lot of “after” shots (not just the ones on the plastic surgeons website) – we are far better at doing seamless implants than seamless reductions and there can be some pretty noticeable scarring. That would probably be the biggest “con” for me. But if they’re causing you discomfort, it’s probably still worth it.

  11. I love my breast reduction! I was a 38G by the time I was a junior in HS, and was starting to develop back problems and was having a hard time socializing because I was so self conscious. I got the reduction the summer after I graduated

  12. I am 44 years old, and had my reduction 10 years ago. It was the BEST decision I ever made. Was a 36C in high school through my 20’s, but grew to 40 FF after my two pregnancies. I figured my boobs had done their job well nursing my babies, and it was time to give something back LOL. I had almost 3 lbs of tissue removed, and reduced down to a 38C, where I’ve been ever since.

    I highly encourage anyone considering a reduction to wait until after you are done having children, regardless of your decision to breastfeed or not. Breast sizes change dramatically during / after / between pregnancies, and you don’t want to have them surgically altered, only to have them change size again during a subsequent pregnancy.

    Also – do your homework on board-accredited plastic surgeons. I chose mine based on HER before/after pictures of her clients, as well that she was board-accredited for breast reductions. Have it done in a hospital, not a surgi-center or same-day. Do your research on the requirements of your insurance. I had to show weight loss with no reduction of tissue, plus recommendations from my GP and chiropractor regarding my back, neck, and shoulder issues.

    Make no mistake – it’s MAJOR surgery, and anyone who claims it isn’t is not someone you should talk to about it. But it can do wonders to restore both an equilibrium to your body and harmony to your self-worth. I wish you the absolute best with your decision.

  13. I had a breast reduction done in 2005 and have never regretted it. My surgeon was adamant that the reduction should not involve liposuction and I was very glad for that as it made my recovery relatively quick and with only minimal pain (I never even used the pain killers they prescribed). After my surgery, walking and moving around was so much easier. I started to love exercise and physical activity! I associate my surgery with self acceptance and freedom. This is a very personal decision and I support anyone no matter what they decide. If you do choose to go with the reduction, just know that you will look like frankenboob for a while and might wonder if your nipples have been replaced by slices of pepperoni, but after the incisions heal and the tissues re-connect, great normal looking boobs and the scars fade quickly and are hardly noticeable. If you try and get this surgery covered by insurance know that a lot of the time they automatically deny you and you will have to appeal as I did. Insurance did cover it but it was a struggle. Best of luck to you! 🙂

  14. I haven’t had a reduction yet, but at 34H/36GG I will at some point. It has taken me a long time to come to this decision and it’s still something I struggle with. Not that I’m judging anyone who decides to, but I know personally if I had DDD or E size I wouldn’t get a reduction. My mother had a reduction and it wasn’t a good one, so I have seen what can go wrong from them. They removed much more than she wanted, and she didn’t heal well. She had large enough breasts that the nipple had to be removed and relocated, and because of this she fully lost one nipple and now only has an oddly shaped areola in it’s place. She also has tons of scar tissue around the sides and underneath. Actually being able to see the pain of recovery and what I am risking by going through the surgery has made me really think through my decision.

    • Being comfortable with the size of your breasts is an extremely personal thing. A DDD or E on a petite woman (5’2″ and 32-34 chest size) is much different from a woman with the same cup size but who is also plus size. It sounds to me like some of your mother’s issues stemmed from the surgeon; I am sorry it happened to her.

  15. I’d love to hear from anyone who had a reduction after they had kids when their kids were still small. Mine are 1 and 3 and I’m worried about the immediate recovery and not being able to pick them up for a few weeks.

    I’ve been waiting to have one since I was in high school and now that I’m done having kids and breastfeeding I’m ready to do it, but need to fine a time for recovery.

    • Stephanie – My kids were 4 and 2 when I had my reduction done. I had finished breastfeeding 9 months prior. Make sure you have good home support for after the surgery, as you will not be able to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for at least 4-6 weeks. For me that meant I could not pick up my 2-yo daughter. But it is totally doable with younger children. Personally, I am glad I had it done in my 30’s, rather than waiting till my kids were older. Good luck!

        • You’re very, very welcome Stephanie. I had 2 weeks home to recover after surgery before returning to work; in 20/20 hindsight, I probably should have taken 3 weeks to recover at home. Even 10 years later I still remember that 1st week back to work as being a bitch LOL. I did have a relatively easy surgery with textbook recovery. I understand not everyone is like that. I had both my husband and my father to help with the kids during recovery. I started the process when my daughter was 17 months old (had just weaned), and had the surgery 2 months after her 2nd birthday. 10 years later you cannot see the scarring at all, and even with my weight fluctuation, my cup size has not changed. I’m not sure if that is a result of my surgeon or my body, but I’ll take it :).

          Most importantly, I do highly recommend you do your homework on the surgeon you use, beyond just who your insurance recommends. See their before/after pics. Make sure they are specifically board-certified in breast reductions. My surgeon did a lot of work with breast reconstruction patients after cancer. That was huge for me.

          I wish you the best Stephanie. I have been nothing but happy with my decision, even a decade later.

  16. I went from a HH to a DD about 7 years ago. I often say that I would not be working as a massage therapist if I hadn’t gotten it done. In Ontario, it’s covered by our health care, so I didn’t have to pay for it thought I did pay a little more to get some liposuction done under the armpits and a lift. I asked that they keep them large since I’m a big girl, tall and broad in the shoulders. my biggest worry was that they would make them to small. It was a month off work recovering, and even after it took a few months for me to get all my upper body strength back. It was a memorable experience, mostly since I’m not in the hospital much. Fun things like having to pee every hour because they had put my IV drip up to high, being put in Pediatrics because post op was full, and being wake most of the night since my operation was in the morning and I had slept the day away. The Nurses where nice and brought me ice cream for my sore throat, and coloring in a coloring book my friend had got me. I have a little nerve damage, and don’t have feeling on the outer sides of my breasts (I think from the lipo), but full feeling in my nipples and everywhere else. You will feel a bit of twinges from nerves for about a year after the surgery, but that’s a good sign as they heal. Hope you decide what works best for you. ~Colleen

  17. I’ve been considering a reduction for a long time. I went in to the plastic surgeon and was doing all the steps I needed to in order to, hopefully, have insurance cover it. I had decided I’d wait until after my first child weaned and then wait until I’d recovered to have a second child.
    When I went to get re-fitted after baby 1 weaned, I must have gone in on my smallest day ever. I outgrew the new ($50+!) bras within a week. The place only accepts returns if you haven’t removed the tags. 🙁
    Well, I thought if I had managed to get down to DDs, I could live with them. Years went by, baby number 2 has been born, nursed and weaned. Not planning on having any more. Back up in the F-G range (need to get fitted again)… And glad I saw this article.
    I think I will have to wait for “baby” number 2 to get old enough to be more gentle with me, but I think I will go through with it.
    I go in next month to officially confirm my suspicion that I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. With my joints all loose, lax and sore I could end up hunch-backed very soon if I don’t have a reduction.

    • This is why I read the comments to threads that are completely irrelevant to me: I saw the line about your joints and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and curiously looked it up. I need to get a doctor to test me for this; it would explain so much!

  18. A friend has this done when she was in her early 20s – down to a C cup. She was really happy and everyone could see the difference in her confidence. Then she put on weight, lost it, put it on, etc.; now her boobs are as big as they were before surgery, and also now they’re scarred and not the shape she was happy with just after the surgery.
    Based on her experience, I’d say make sure you’re happy with your weight everywhere else and that you can happily maintain it before you go for it. (also, if you want to breastfeed any kids, it might be worth reading some experiences of women who’ve tried that post-reduction and how well it worked. Not breastfeeding has some extra health risks so you just want to be happy with all the risks and benefits, long-term as well as short).

  19. I have a very modest C cup and have discussed with my doctor about having a breast reduction. In Canada it is easy to find a plastic surgeon can help you if you want to go larger but not if you want to go smaller unless it is medically justified. My doctor’s only avenue was to offer me a referral for GRS (if I wanted to go “the trans route” as he put it). It is really unfortunate that Canadians do not have the option of elective breast reduction without redefining their gender identity. It’s important that GRS is available to transmen but there is a whole spectrum of gender non-conformity and many cis-identified women who might want a breast reduction that do not fit under the trans umbrella. It’s unfortunate that this is not even available as an elective procedure (not covered by universal health care).

  20. I went from an L to a C in 2002 at age 22. The recovery was miserable, and my nipples did, in fact, fall off, but I don’t regret it in the slightest. 12 years later, I’m a DD, but still very happy with the whole thing.

  21. I am waiting on breast reduction until I know that I am done breastfeeding, but I have read that breast reductions are one of the few things that create a permanent increase in happiness. Most people have a stable amount of happiness and good events create a temporary increase, but then that increase dissipates and people go back to their usual level of happiness. Apparently breast reductions are one of the few things that make people permanently slightly happier. (My source is some vague internet readings, so I won’t defend this to death. It sounds right to me, though.)

  22. I had my surgery about 9 months ago and, as others say, recovery IS a bitch.
    In Australia, I was lucky enough to get it entirely covered by Medicare (free public health), but this meant I had to trust my GP’s recommendation of surgeon and couldn’t change, and couldn’t go as small as I would have liked as the surgeons (I had a different one for each breast) thought that if they reduced any further, they might lose the nipple. I’m happy with the result because I can now exercise (every day!) without pain, so hopefully they’ll reduce more over time. I can also go braless if I so wish which is something I haven’t been able to do since I was 13.
    I went from an F to a D/DD which doesn’t seem like that big of a difference, but my god, the benefits from it have been amazing and I’m so glad I did it.

    A great website is the real self newsletter- women who have had this surgery will post after photos and most of these are because they’re having problems, so you can see the things that can go wrong and not just perfect surgeons photos.

    I can’t stress how painful recovery is for someone like me who’s never been through childbirth/never broken a bone/never had surgery of any kind. I had to get mine done 900km away from where we live. The doctors said you can drive as soon as you feel able to. I took a month off work to recover, and it still wasn’t enough. I needed to extend another couple weeks, and then my husband had to drive down and collect me because I still couldn’t drive long distances (turning the steering wheel hurts more than you think). I was lucky and had very little complications (just a little splitting in the T junction which they always expect) but far out – even getting the bandages changed once a week is painful.

    It’s incredibly normal in the recovery phase to go through a depressive stage and wish you hadn’t got it done. I know I had my moments, but 9 months later, the only thing stopping me from doing it again to go smaller is the recovery pain.

    Also, everyone tells you that you may lose the nipples or lose sensation. No one tells you it may heighten sensation. I feel SO much more these days, and sometimes that can verge on pain (if hubby pinches too hard or I’m braless and cold) so you may have to re teach your partner as well.

  23. Conversely, my ever “caring” mother has been recommending breast reduction surgery to me since high school. I have told her numerous times that it isn’t on the cards, I haven’t and never will consider it and that a large portion of my back pain actually comes from badly fitted bras (I thought I was a DD/E before I was correctly fitted as a G cup when I was 21!) and poor muscle strength in my back.

    And yet no matter how many times I explained it to her, it would be the same thing: “have you considered a reduction?? The public health system might pay for it!”

    Yes, mother. I’ve had to consider it every single time you’ve opened your mouth, forgetting the last time we had this exact same damn conversation.

    • Kitia – I am sure your mother means well, but I am sorry she does not respect your desire to leave well enough alone. I know I’ve shared my BR experience with my brother’s girlfriend, who is in the 44I size. While right now she does not have acceptable insurance to cover the surgery, she’s perfectly fine with how she looks, and I got the impression that even if/when she marries my brother and goes on his insurance she probably won’t consider it. Will I ever talk about it again? Not unless she brings it up first.

  24. Hi,
    I’ve found you via Better Bras Canada and would like to join in!

    Getting a breast reduction is a very personal decision and I know the thoughts from my past when I was wearing the wrong bra size (34D but would have needed a 30G, UK sizing). My breasts were totally unsupported through my too loose bra band and I felt very ashamed, especially as a Teenager (I would not wear low necked shirts or move too fast – because my girls would have jumped out of the bra). For me bras in the right size 30G helped me a lot and changed my life both physically and emotionally. Since I was fitted into a 30G, I’ve gained weight and both my band and my cup size have gone up and now I’m wearing a 34G and still like my breasts (that doesn’t mean that other women have to like their breasts, too, or that I can not understand that breasts can be a struggle).

    What I’m missing in this conversation about breast reductions is the knowledge about bra sizes. Saying “I’m a A/ DD/ H” cup or whatever letter says absolutely nothing. It’s like giving the time by saying “It’s quarter past” (too be honest this description stems from Georgina [Blog: Fuller Figure Fuller Bust]). The cup size is always related to the band size. So a 34DD is one cup size bigger than a 32DD. Or my 34G is two cup sizes bigger as my former 30G. Knowledge about bra sizes although helps to understand that a band size can’t change through a breast reduction (e. g. a 38H could be a 38F but never a 36F after surgery because the surgeon doesn’t alter the ribcage).

    Although I’m an advocate for getting a good bra fitting first and trying if a well fitting bra already helps I know that for some women this is still not the solution. A friend of mine was wearing a fitted 36J some years ago and it was fine when she put on a bra – but at the end of the day when she took the bra off and went to bed she had trouble to sleep because her breasts were always in her way and pretty heavy, too. So she decided that she would have a reduction anyway. Now she wears a 36FF and is totally happy with it, her self-esteem got a great boost and it’s amazing to see her flourish!

    So my conclusion is: I’m not against breast reduction. I just wish it was based on more reliable information.

    If it’s all right I would like to add some resources:
    The Bra Band Project – to get an impression what a DD cup really looks like (on a 30/ 32 or 34 band and so on – you might be surprised that a 34DD for example is rather small)
    A Sophisticated Pair and Butterfly Collection – both wonderful shops in North America with very helpful information and blogs about breasts and bras

    Kind regards from Berlin and all the best for you lovely ones,

    • As you say, the band size doesn’t change through a reduction, so saying that you’ve been reduced from an f to a d does actually say something. You don’t need the band size, because that stays the same.

      Band sizes also are different around the world. For instance, I have no idea what a 36/38 etc actually is, just like I’m sure Americans/Canadians wouldn’t be able to picture a 12/14 australian size.

      I omitted it from my comment for this reason. Also because if you’re considering a breast reduction, I assume people are like me and have had several bra fittings over the years because nothing helps the pain.

      • Hi Stacey,
        thank you very much for your answer!

        I agree that it says something when you write that you got from F to D. It means that your breasts have been reduced by 3 cup sizes (if your sizing system uses DD). Still it gives no idea about the actual size of your breasts. For example, are you a 36D (14D) now or a 38D (16D)? 36D would be one cup size smaller than 38D.

        You are also right that the numeration of band sizes is different around the world but they can be compared to each other. Wikipedia gives a good overview (if the link doesn’t work or will be deleted search for ‘Brassiere measurement’): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassiere_measurement

        After I’ve got fitted I was so happy with how my life improved that I decided to be trained as a bra fitter and worked in this area in the last 18 months. The store where I’ve worked is specialised in big cup sizes up to UK K-Cup (= US O-Cup). With a well fitting bra it is possible to reduce or cure the pain for women even wearing a big cup size like a UK 40K (US 40O or AUS 18K). At least until the bra comes of as mentioned in the example with my friend in the first comment. I have seen many women coming from stores where they had been “fitted” with centre gores (bridges) standing away from the body and bands riding up in the back. That’s not against you (really!) but I have made the experience that not every bra fitting is a good fitting. It’s against the stores claiming to do a bra fitting only to sell you another ill fitting bra. Before I was fitted into a 30G (US 30I, AUS 8G) with a band tight enough to finally lift the weight from my shoulders and give my breasts excellent support I had been fitted several times – into wrong sizes and bra shapes again and again. I then avoided going to stores anymore and in a very desperate moment I finally found the help that I needed and got my fitting at a German forum called busenfreundinnen.net (something like the English reddit.com).

        This comment and my first one are not meant to insult any women that made a comment here! I’ve taken the time to write them because I am a woman and know which anger and desperation breasts and especially breasts in ill fitting bras can bring, I remember my Teenage years with ill fitting bras and feeling ashamed for myself and my breasts and if my comments only help one girl or women then I am happy with it (and if it’s only for the time until they get a breast reduction and even after reduction knowledge about bra sizes and how a bra should fit are important information)!

        Kind regards,

    • I have to respectfully disagree Anja on part of your comment. At least in my case, when I reduced to my C cup, my band size DID in fact go down from a 40 to a 38. this was because a significant amount of excess skin was taken from the sides of my breasts, under the armpits, which was contributing to the overall bandsize of the bra I was previously wearing.

      I do commend you for feeling so passionately about the subject that you have become a trained bra fitter :-). I agree 1000% that it is so important for women to have a properly-fit bra, regardless of their size. Thank you (even though you are in the UK and not USA ;-).

      • Hi Meg,
        I am very glad you told me this that’s something I did not know before! 🙂 As we say in Germany “you never complete learning”. I’m not quite sure if this expression exists in English, too? It would be very nice if I lived in the UK because I’m sure there I would have been fitted in the right size and bra shape earlier. 😉 In Germany, the knowledge about bra sizes and the choice of bigger cup sizes (especially combined with smaller band sizes) is still less compared to the UK but fortunately the situation is changing slowly in the last years!

        Kind regards,

        • Anja – I’m sorry I did not realize you were in Germany, not the UK – my mistake, and I beg forgiveness. I have a great love of Germany (I am a Baier that married a Bachman).

          When I was reduced 10 years ago, I went from a FF to a large C. My surgeon took just over 3 lbs of tissue off…1-1/2 lbs from the right, and 1-2/3 lbs from the left. The difference it made in me being able to get fitted for decent bras without breaking the bank was tremendous on my self-esteem. I very willingly and gladly support any woman who feels it is the appropriate course of action for her, but I fully recognize that the choice is not for everyone who is endowed with larger breasts. I just know it made a world of difference for me :-).

          This is a wonderful conversation; I have not had a chance to talk about breast reductions since after mine was done. Thank you!

          • Not problem at all, Meg! At least it seems my English is good enough to think that I’m from the UK 🙂

            Yes, 10 years back the choice of a decent number of bra sizes was even worse than today! And it’s true that today a bra for bigger cup sizes is still more cost-intensive (although I have to admit that one of the reasons is that developing and producing well fitting bras for bigger cup sizes costs more). I have heard that all the UK brands for bigger cup sizes (Panache, Freya, Fantasie etc.) are much more expensive in the USA as in the UK? It’s the same in Germany and I know lots of women that prefer to order their bras online directly from the UK.

            It is wonderful that your breast reduction has helped you so much (and to get nice bras, too, without breaking the bank 😉 ) and that you have the opportunity to talk about it now!

  25. Despite my breasts being 36G I have never considered a reduction. Partly I’m afraid of any kind of “unnecessary” surgery. Partly I guess I also have a feeling like it would be a betrayal to my body. I’m not sure where that feeling is coming from.

    I also get scared by things like the story in Cosmo this month about someone whose breasts completely grew back after reduction!

    Then again, I am lucky in that I have never had back pain from them. For me the only downside has been difficulty with clothes fitting.

    • Ambaa – Whether or not a surgery is considered necessary or unnecessary is a completely personal decision. As for myself, I had significant back / shoulder / neck issues that were a direct cause of my overly-large breasts. Add to that the self-esteem issues; I was wearing 1X tops to fit my boobs, even though I was a size 10 everywhere else on my body. I looked like I wore tents all the time. I have now had 10 years of being able to wear size LG tops off the rack in stores.

      I also did not consider it a betrayal of my body; no different than if I’d chosen lasik for my eyes instead. The major difference is that my insurance covered the breast reduction, where they would not cover lasik.

      But most importantly – if YOU are comfortable with the overall size of your body, that is wonderful :-). And in the end it’s all that matters.

      • It’s interesting that you mentioned Lasik. At 24 I had Lasik after wearing glasses since I was 3 years old. I am so happy that I had the surgery! I feel much more confident, and pleased that my face can truly show. And I love being able to lay down to watch tv or read without my glasses being all askew. That being said, I do feel like I’ve lot a lot of my identity. Even though my face is actually mine, it feels odd not to have a part of it covered in glasses. I’ve always drawn a doodle of myself, and now it doesn’t even look like me. So despite the pain in my back, neck, and shoulders that I’ve had for the past 12 years I don’t know if I would want my breasts to change. They are such a significant part of who I am. (I am not at all against breast reduction, and I think it’s actually very brave!) It’s interesting to me, that Im not a very physical person, yet when it comes to changing my body, it suddenly Rocks my identity !

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