Problems tackled: 43,481

Large breasts

Disproportionately large breasts can make a woman self-conscious. They can cause backache, probably because of adopting a drooping posture to try to hide their size. After a few years, the pressure from bra straps may cause grooves in the shoulders. High-impact sports such as jogging or aerobics can be uncomfortable or impossible. Clothes that fit properly can be hard to find. The oral contraceptive pill may have to be abandoned because it makes the breasts even larger.

The first essential is a well-fitting bra. Women with large breasts often make the mistake of choosing a large size with too small a cup, rather than a smaller size with a larger cup. For example, a woman who needs a 34E often buys a 36C.

Choosing a bra

  • If the straps dig into your shoulders, the bra back size is probably too big, as the main support for the breasts should come from the strap around your body and the cups
  • If your bra rides up your back, the bra is too big around your body – the strap should fit around your ribcage
  • Lift up your arms. Did everything stay in place? If your bra pulls up across your breasts you need a smaller size bra, probably with a larger cup size
  • If your bra wrinkles, your cup size is too big – the breasts should be in the cups with a smooth outline
  • If your breasts bulge out of the top or sides of your cup, and your bra looks lumpy under clothes, your cup size is too small
  • If wires poke out at the front or dig in under your arms, the cup size is too small – the wires should lie flat against your body and surround your breasts
  • Look for a bra with two or three fastenings or hooks – these give the best support
  • Underwires give good support, but the upper end of the wire should not press into the breast tissue near the armpit

Breast reduction surgery

Discuss the pros and cons of breast reduction surgery with your doctor. This does not commit you to anything, and may help you decide whether you can come to terms with your figure – and see it as an advantage – or whether you really would like surgery. In the UK, it is very unlikely that you would be able to have the operation on the National Health Service.

Breast reduction surgery is a more complicated operation than breast enlargement with implants, and takes 2–3 hours. Skill is needed to make both breasts look the same shape. The operation is more ‘final’ as it cannot be reversed. It is not surprising that far fewer breast-reducing than breast-enlarging operations are performed.
As with breast enlargement surgery, it is important to find a skilled surgeon (see choosing a cosmetic surgeon). Within reason, the surgeon can remove as much or as little as you want, so you should end up with breasts the size you want.
The surgeon removes a wedge of breast tissue and reshapes the remaining skin and tissue. The nipple will have to be moved to a new position. Usually you will end up with scars right round the nipple, in the crease line under the breast and along a line joining the nipple to the crease line. These scars take about a year to fade. The scar around the nipple fades first.
Diagram showing the position of scars after breast reduction surgery
Problems. A number of problems can occur after breast reduction surgery.There is often some loss of feeling from the nipple – often touch can be felt, but there may be loss of erotic feeling.
  • Breastfeeding may not be possible afterwards.
  • The incisions may take a long time to heal, especially round the nipple, and the central part of the incision in the crease line.
  • The scars from the incisions usually fade in 6–12 months, but can become thickened and unsightly.
  • As with all operations, there is a risk of infection and internal bleeding.

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Monday, January 16th 2012


GP and broadcaster Dr Phil Hammond shares his views on PIP breast implants and widens the debate on cosmetic surgery. What do you think? We welcome your comments below.

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Comments on this article

Posted by Gwen on 20/02/2017 at 09:50

My breasts grew alot when I was a teen. I have a very small body. I am 5 feet 2 inches tall and wear a 36P cup bra and I love my large breasts.

Posted by Optional on 24/03/2016 at 06:41

I am on the pill and my bf has said that my breast are getting larger but I feel like they are the same. I have been on the pill for just under two weeks is it possible that they would be getting bigger after that period of time or is he just seeing things (I'm a 34D and have been just under a year)

Posted by Optional on 05/01/2016 at 07:29

I'm 19 5ft 2 and pregnant my boobs have always been very large and I'm roughly a 32 H/ I.. Does anybody know any affordable websites or any good websites I can find bras/nursing bras

Posted by keke on 10/04/2015 at 01:01

Why is my breast so big and heavy? How can I get a breast reduced?

Posted by Optional on 24/03/2015 at 07:58

My breast are really large in size I have two kids boy n girl. Really wanna reduce size but can't afford it...any simple way to reduce breast size.

Posted by Optional on 24/01/2014 at 04:15

i am 24 and i have no boobs im not even an 32AA. i have been doctors and they said there is nothing i can do. HELP please

Posted by jane on 02/08/2013 at 01:48

I have just turned 30 yes old and have always had very large breasts they are a 36LL. I'm just curious where would the best place to go for expert bra fitting.

Posted by Dr Michael Vaughan on 28/02/2013 at 05:45

As a bachelor who has never married, I found Dr Stearn's article very enlightening. I do not practise Medicine but rather am a Social Historian/Political Scientist concentrating, among other issues, on women's health and women's rights. I have a friend with large, lovely breasts, who wants to have them reduced as she is sick and tired of lechers ogling her lasciviously in the street. I have suggested to her that her breasts, far from being a cause of embarrassment to her, are part of her attractiveness as a young woman. She is still confronted, however,with the humiliation of "yobboes" insulting her body publicly. Men, of course, seldom have this upsetting problem and,if we are publicly humiliated, take either legal action (sue for defamation) or physical action (thump the daylights out of a troublemaker.) Women can take legal action also but standing up to cross examination in Court about sensitive matters is an ordeal they prefer to avoid.My appreciation again to Dr Stearn for explaining psychological and surgical matters so succinctly.

Posted by Optional on 26/11/2012 at 04:33

i always experience painfull breasts..what cud it be

Posted by Optional on 25/07/2012 at 04:56

My breast is quite big since I was young. Some time I feel like my breast is swollen and some time normal. Pls let me know.

Posted by Optional on 09/05/2012 at 07:42

Hi i m 26year old I m suffring from brest pain and i have a large brest so pls tell me how can i reduce my brest size or pain ......

Posted by Tessa on 16/04/2012 at 12:28

I had a breast reduction at the same time as breast cancer surgery It was the best thing I ever did and wish I had done it earlier Make sure you have atop surgeon though.

Posted by Optional on 14/02/2012 at 07:47

i hv big breast.i feel very bad and embarrassed.plz give me some suggestion to wat can i do to make them smaller

Posted by Lynn on 10/02/2012 at 11:40

I'm unsure whether I would be considered for breast reduction on the NHS and could not afford to have it done privately. I have always had large, heavy breasts, but because my mother and sister had breast cancer, didn't feel I should tamper with my breasts in any way so I have put up with the discomfort of them all these years. However, the grooves in my shoulders are now so deep that all my clothes sink into them and they are very painful. Also they seem to be having a bad effect on my neck and shoulders. Do you think I should talk to my doctor about this? I am still worried that a reduction might bring on breast cancer. Please can you help?

Posted by els on 24/11/2011 at 11:40

I need help. I'm 23 yrs old and I wear 36 DD. I talked to a doctor about getting a reduction, and they informed me they would not do the surgery. I need help bc not only do i deal with pain from scoliosis but i have to deal with the weight from my breast too. What do i do?

Posted by RS on 06/07/2011 at 10:48

I just got a rejection letter from my insurance company, saying my request for breast reduction surgery is cosmetic. I am a 42 DD and have huge grooves in my shoulders. They say I need to have 2 of the following conditions: 6 months worth of physical therapy due to pain (which I have had--spread out over years, because who can afford it?!); deep shoulder grooves--but have tried a foundation that spreads the tension and support (they need proof); dermatitis (have had fungal infections--not now); or breast pain--don't have. I guess my question is where do I get a bra that has a good support system?

Posted by G on 01/05/2011 at 12:19

I have a big breast and is killing me but, i dont have that kind of money to reduce it. I cant tell u what i go throug everyday.I wish somebody will help me out.

Posted by Optional on 10/10/2010 at 04:45

"I am a male with 48d breasts,should i wear a bra.

Posted by Optional on 18/09/2010 at 12:22

please help me i am 22 yrs old and have very immense breast which is causing me alot of pain in my neck shoulders and back.please help me get an is very painful

Posted by Optional on 30/08/2010 at 08:10

I was hoping to find out about my correct bra cup size I have a 10 inch difference between my band and cup. I have had to do with what I can find in bras 38DDD

Posted by Optional on 28/08/2010 at 06:11

I have a right large breast and sometimes it's uncomfortable to sleep on stomach. Sometime's it hurst and sometime's it doesn't. Sometimes it's fine in a bra and sometimes it feels uncomfortbale. ATm, i have no bra on and it just feels so uncomfortbale and heavy. What should I do?

Posted by Optional on 14/08/2010 at 10:54

Am weigh to big cup size and i dont feel comfort with them because my friends have small size

Posted by Optional on 30/07/2010 at 07:14

Im 19 and I have really big boobs, I have always been this way since i started pubity. every time I meet new people they comment on them and I always feel like people are looking, I have no conidence anymore and my posture is pretty bad. I am a 32 J and I want to do something about it. Ive tried excercise and other things but they just dont seem to get any smaller, I am now considering surgery and was wondering if anyone had managed to get a breast readuction on the NHS? Many Thanks

Posted by Optional on 25/07/2010 at 10:17

my boobs too large cause every moment embaraasing for me what should i do

Posted by Optional on 06/07/2010 at 03:41

why are my brest getting so bigg what can i do to make tham smaller

Posted by Petrena on 27/06/2010 at 07:16

I do have a big problem finding a bra to actually fit me. It is a shame that bra manufacturers cannot try to help more. They know the problem, yet they limit the sizes of the bras.

Posted by Dannielle on 25/06/2010 at 03:36

I'm Dannielle, Im a size F and have suffered from a bad back and brething problems because of my breast size, and since Im only a size 12-14 in waist size all my shirts I weair eather look really stupid or break from the pressure my breast put the fabric thro... any advice?

Posted by anita on 23/06/2010 at 12:24

hi my name is anita i am in a size d. even thoudgh i dont run to the doctor complaining my back hurt alot. the only thing i have is ten care insurance is ther any help out there for me

Posted by munzhedzi on 14/06/2010 at 06:17

i wan 2 do reduction mut i dont have enogh money.

Posted by salman on 20/05/2010 at 02:46

i m 23 male i have an abnormal breast. i feel so embarassing to wear fittin t shirt n shirts bcoz nipples have seen in the t shirt so plz give me a solution that how i got a perfect male chest shape without medicine plz

Posted by ritu on 29/04/2010 at 09:49

i have big breast and its causing me a lot of problem while wearing tight cloths. please i request u please suggest me some important tip to make my breast smaller without pills n height is 4'11 n my age is 25.

Posted by Shereen on 01/12/2009 at 10:43

I have very big breast. I am feeling very uneasy and uncomfortable, specially in summers. Also some times I feel backeche. What to do ? Pl. help me.

Posted by Eddie on 28/11/2009 at 12:31

I was born without testicles and a hormonal inbalance. Thus, I have a 36C breasts. I had this condition all my life. People have always wondered if I'm a guy or a chick. This can be very frustrating. During my high school years this was very frustrating and embarrassing.

Posted by Teresa on 06/11/2009 at 04:20

Check out . I'm finally comfortable and I didn't have to lose weight or get a reduction!

Posted by Jade on 18/06/2009 at 02:12

Im a size 8 and have 34EE breasts and like many others who have posted, struggled to find blouses and clothes to cover my modesty and I found an online store called Miss Fit UK which are really good! You have to google them, but theyre really fashionable and a decent price x

Posted by Rahwa on 12/04/2009 at 08:54

does it help wearing the bra all the for redictoin the breast????? pls reply. or is there any harm in wearing the bro constantly???

Posted by -S- on 11/04/2009 at 11:25

I'm 18 years old and my breast are 36DD.. my doctor told me I should wait until I am 21 but I really want this surgery! Do you think because I have scoliosis of the spine that the surgery would be covered? I just want smaller breast so bad, it would definitely make my life so much better :( Please help!

Posted by Celia Leach on 25/03/2009 at 05:59

I am 4 foot 9 inches. I weigh 110 pounds. My problem is I wear a 32H bra. I am in pain most of the day until I remove my bra. I have no insurance so I cannot get a reduction. I would gladly go on a tv medical show to show how breast reductions are done. People think that because I am 62 that I should just let it be. Guess what?? they are still growing. Two years ago I wore a g cup.

Posted by JENN on 18/03/2009 at 09:29


Posted by dina on 19/01/2009 at 04:25

my breast are growing everyday I was a 34d and now 6months later They are 34dd and that is to tight.

Posted by Mohan ram.D on 16/01/2009 at 02:10

i am a boy 0f 18 years and sufferring from large breasts. i feel uncomfortable to wear t-shirts and tight shirts. i need to reduce my breast size please someone help me...........


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