Back pain is a common problem for many people. It is one of the most common reasons women go to the doctor. Many women assume that their back pain is caused by something they have done wrong, such as sitting in an incorrect position, lifting something incorrectly, active sports lifestyles, accidents, or genetics. However, did you know that your breast size could also be a contributing factor to your back pain?
Believe it or not, the size and shape of your breasts can have a significant impact on your back health. Studies have revealed that women with larger breasts are more likely to experience back pain than women with smaller breasts. This is because the weight of your breasts pulls on your spine, which can cause tension and discomfort in your back. Large breasts have been linked to neck pain, postural issues, constant headaches, and even physical abnormalities.
What is the Condition Called?
Macromastia or breast hypertrophy is a condition that is characterized by an abnormal enlargement of the breasts. It is not a disease but rather a symptom caused by a variety of medical conditions. The most common cause of macromastia is obesity, although other causes include hormonal imbalances and genetic disorders. The excess tissue may cause physical discomfort to the patient and adversely affect self-image. Although some women have no problem with their large breasts, others may find it challenging to participate in certain activities or find clothing that fits appropriately. The primary risk associated with macromastia is back pain, as the extra weight of the breasts can cause strain on the spine.
Women with this condition may also experience nerve pain and swelling in the breast area. The excess weight of the breasts can also make exercising uncomfortable, leading to a sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity. So, how do you know if you have macromastia? How can it be treated? It’s essential to see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis.
How Do You Know if You Have Macromastia?
Several notable signs may indicate the presence of this condition. Breast pain is one symptom that you should watch out for. The patient will feel a dull ache in the breast area, which can worsen when she lies on her back. In some cases, patients may even experience stinging or sharp pains in their breasts because of small blisters or ulcerations. The pain may become so severe that the patient cannot perform routine daily activities.
Another sign of macromastia is skin irritation or rashes in the breast area. These can be caused by friction from clothing, obesity, and even poor hygiene. Continual contact with moisture from sweat or water may cause a fungal infection, which causes scaly and itchy patches on the breast area. Skin irritation is typically more severe in obese women with macromastia.
Lastly, you should pay attention to your posture and unusual physical traits. If there are small lumps or protrusions near or on the breasts, it could be a sign of excess breast tissue. The patient may also notice that her breasts are widely spaced apart or sag downwards. Excess fat in the upper back and shoulders can give the appearance of a hunchback, which is yet another sign of macromastia.
What Can be Done to Treat This Condition?
The first step is to see a professional for a thorough examination. Your physician will perform a physical exam and order an ultrasound or mammogram of the breast tissue to provide adequate information regarding the condition. A blood test may also be used to determine if there are hormonal imbalances, which can also contribute to breast enlargement. You may then consider surgery or non-invasive treatment options for macromastia.
Conservative Treatment for Macromastia
Many physicians prescribe non-operative treatments as the first step in addressing macromastia. According to Dr. Whang, an expert in macromastia, non-operative treatments should be considered before other options are considered. These treatments include wearing a supportive bra, avoiding specific exercises that can exacerbate the pain, maintaining or losing weight, maintaining good breast health, and possibly supplementing with pain medications. Aquatherapy is also used to minimize pain and discomfort.
Although conservative treatments should be explored first, it is not always possible to resolve the condition with non-operative therapies alone. Operant treatment should therefore be considered when the symptoms are unmanageable or when the condition appears to be worsening.
Breast Reduction Surgery for Macromastia
Breast reduction surgery can be performed to reduce the size of your breasts. Not only can it help relieve pressure on your back, but also other parts of the body that are affected by macromastia. The procedure itself involves removing the excess tissue from each breast, contouring the remaining tissue to create smaller, more natural-looking breasts, and then re-positioning the nipple & areola (darker pigmented area around the nipple) if needed. The procedure can either be performed under general anesthesia or with a local anesthetic followed by sedation at the surgeon’s office. Breast reduction surgery takes time and care and should only be undertaken once both patient and physician agree this is best for them given their circumstances and health status.
A report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) now reveals that the number of women choosing this new method has increased by over 24.5% in the last decade. This is excellent news for women with macromastia looking to maintain their natural figure without sacrificing self-confidence.
According to Dr. Howard, most women who opt for surgery are those experiencing pain in the neck, back, and shoulder and are unable to participate in certain activities because of their huge breasts. He remarks that the breast becomes lifted, tighter, and narrower after successful surgery, while the back becomes straighter, and shoulders are pulled back. Hence injecting a pleasant of mind and a sense of elegance.
When the surgery is done well, women should expect some scarring around the nipple area post-surgery, but it will fade over time. It’s also recommended that patients avoid exposing themselves to ultraviolet (UV) light for several months after surgery to prevent permanent pigment darkening of the skin.
Recent research published by European Spine Journal revealed that reduction mammoplasty reduces the prevalence of back pain in women with macromastia. ASPS also revealed that the satisfaction rate of patients who underwent the procedure is high, with most reporting that it has improved their quality of life. If these findings are anything to go by, perhaps more women should consider this procedure to feel comfortable in their skin.
Do Not Live with Back Pain Any Longer
Nothing is more important than your health. If something is wrong, do not put it off. It is not always easy to talk about the problem, but silence can only worsen it. Large breasts might be the primary cause of the back pain you have been experiencing. Please do not put yourself in more distress.
Contact us to make sure you get the treatment plan you need to get back to a pain-free life. Perhaps you might need breast reduction surgery to relieve you of pain and discomfort or opt for conservative treatment.