Go Big or Go Home?

Since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I think it’s important to discus an aspect of breast health that doesn’t seem to get much attention – breast reductions. While I feel like our sexual culture in America is shifting from being breast focused to more butt focused, breasts are fantastic! Sometimes bigger isn’t always better, and having breasts too large can cause some major physical issues that can be long term.

Earlier this week Kiersten wrote about finding bras for small breasts. I have several friends who have gone through successful breast reductions, and one of them (Angie) was kind enough to tell me about her experience. She also documented her journey in a private online journal.

Angie went from wearing a 40H or I cup bra to about a 40 C now, although she might end up a D cup (her surgeon noted that there was very little fat in her breasts, it was mostly breast tissue). Even though her surgery was this summer, her breasts are still settling. She had considered surgery as she had been dealing with back and neck pain for quite some time, and finally made an appointment. After that, she waited about 18 months, just thinking about what the best route might be as well as saving up money for what the insurance would not cover. After spending about half of what eventually would be her co-pay for surgery on physical therapy, and still being in pain, Angie started thinking more seriously about surgery.

In the days leading up to the surgery, Angie started to get a little nervous. She told me, “I wasn’t nervous about the surgery itself; I was more nervous about going under general anesthesia, which I’ve only done one other time in my life, for my emergency C-section 15 years ago.”  If you’ve ever had any surgery (including having your wisdom teeth removed), you know the list of possible side effects of even anesthesia are pretty long and can be intimidating.

Now she’s three months, and while she noticed an immense difference in neck pain almost immediately, she still deals with small “flashes of pain”. Some other more negative issues related to her surgery are being more self conscious of her breasts; she says she used to be proud  of her breasts and is still getting used to them (all of her partners were very supportive of her choice to have the surgery). Also, due to the liposuction done on the sides of Angie’s breasts still causes a bit of pain, gave her the most pain during her recovery, and made it so she was unable to sleep on her sides for weeks.

Despite that, she thinks that the surgery was worth it and has given her some amazing benefits. She says that it is”the best health decision” she has ever made. Angie said “the knowledge of how better I feel on the whole” is the best part of her choice. She is also now able to exercise; before her breasts would hurt for hours afterward.

She also is excited about new ways that she is able to dress, and how much more flattering clothes are on her new body. The surgery has also inspired her to really work on losing weight – before she felt that even if she lost a lot of weight, her chest would be large (based on the small amount of fat in her breasts, it seems likely). Angie says that having breast reduction surgery hasn’t had a huge impact on her sex life other than making her a lot less self conscious of being in the female superior positions. She also said she feels like her partners can get closer to her.

And since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I think it’s important to quickly mention how Angie’s breast exams have changed for her. She says that now exams are easier and much quicker, and physically her breasts feel smoother and less lumpy overall.

Thanks for letting me bug you, Angie.

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About Holly Moyseenko

Holly Moyseenko is a sex educator living in Ohio. She is an advocate of positive and healthy sexuality. Holly currently works for a non-profit health organization as a health educator, and also teaches workshops that focus on many topics within the realm of healthy sexuality. In her spare time, she also is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, gardens, reads anything within reach, drinks copious amounts of tea, and naps with her two dogs.