Breast Asymmetry - When Does It Need Treatment?
Frederick R. Jelovsek MD
"I am 21 years old and for the past several years I noticed my left breast was somewhat larger but nothing to worry about. Now my breast is much larger and it hangs lower. The nipple feels different. It is quite uncomfortable. Anyway, do you think this could somehow catch up with the other breast? ".
The right versus the left breast of any woman is very often of different size and even a different shape. Although common, these differences are perceptible but not very great. If it is a newly noticed size difference, the first question that should be asked is whether or not there is any solid or cystic growth in one breast that is making it larger than the other. Therefore be sure to visit the doctor, if you haven't already, to be sure that there are no breast masses causing the discrepancy in size.
The three major determinants of breast appearance are size, shape of the individual breast and the position of the breast and nipple when standing in an upright position. If surgical correction is undertaken with cosmetic surgery, the best success is obtained with correction of size alone. If both size and shape are different, the surgical results are not as good because each breast requires a different surgical procedure.
What causes a difference in the sizes of the breasts in a person?
Most doctors assume that breast size differences are either genetic tendencies or random events in which paired organs like the breasts just grow differentially with respect to starting and stopping.
The breasts are stimulated to grow under the influence of estrogen hormone in young girls. It begins with breast budding and about two years after that the first menstrual period occurs. The breast continues to grow for about 2-4 more years and it is during that time that there can be differences in size.
Catchup growth does take place but if you are now 21 years old and breast development has gone on more than about 6 years, then it is unlikely to change now until pregnancy or menopause. Those are the other two events that can change size and shape of the breasts.