Womens Health

Breast Size Asymmetry

Breasts have been the boon or bane of women worldwide for years. We look with envy at what we believe to be perfect bodies and then compare ourselves to them. However, if we do the research, we'll find that what people instinctively find attractive are the features that indicate health: things like glossy hair, clear complexion, and balanced features. This somehow subliminally tells us that this person is healthy and comes from good genetic stock.

A Venus de Milo You Ain't

Symmetry of the breasts has, for centuries, been one of the criteria used to measure the beauty of the female body. Yet, very few women have the breasts of Venus de Milo, perfectly formed and equal. Most of us have breasts that differ in shape, size, and position - some with slight difference and others with more significant differences. For the most part, this is very normal and nothing to be overly concerned about. Many teens in the early years of development experience size differences in their breasts during puberty and for a few years beyond. They even out over time. However, about 25 percent of adult women continue on and do have noticeable differences in the size of their breasts.

Asymmetry of the breasts is a difference in breast size or shape or both. Women may feel embarrassed about their asymmetric breasts, especially if the difference is large. This is when problems arise and a woman can experience physical and emotional stress from the situation. The good news is that it can be treated very effectively with surgery. But, before we talk about that aspect of asymmetric breasts, we can talk about the possible causes for it.

What Causes Breast Asymmetry?

There are three factors that are considered in the appearance of the breasts and they are size, shape, and the position of the breast and nipple when standing upright. Asymmetry may occur in the following cases:

· Genetics and random growth patterns

· Previous surgical procedure

· Breast enhancement surgery gone wrong

· Breast reduction and mastopexy (breast lift)

Breasts grow on females in response to estrogen in the body. About two years after menses begins, a girl's budding breasts grow and develop more, continuing on in the growth pattern for another two to four years. During this period of growth the breasts may grow differently, one larger or a different shape than the other. If they continue on this path and have grown differently, they will remain that way until pregnancy or menopause, either of which will cause changes in the breasts.

Women who undergo breast augmentation may end up with unequal breasts because of faulty technique, poor after-care or complications of surgery. Implants that are not placed properly are another reason for asymmetrical breasts. Conversely, breast reduction and mastopexy (breast lifts) can dramatically change the size and shape of one or both breasts causing asymmetry.


Some Women Love the Difference

Breast asymmetry can be corrected with surgery, but whether the surgery is really necessary is the question. Some women are quite content with the way things are, even if the difference is a large one. They revel in their uniqueness and their asymmetric breasts are a source of pride rather than shame. Other women find it embarrassing and uncomfortable and want to equalize things. Whether or not surgery is performed is based on the doctor's opinion and the comfort level of the woman. Normally, if the breast size difference is a full cup size or more, then the doctor will likely recommend surgery. Differences of less than a cup size usually don't require changes. However, it does depend upon the way the woman feels as well.

When Young Girls Need Surgery

There are situations in young girls where their breasts grow extremely large during adolescence. Virginal hypertrophy can create some serious challenges for young girls who find themselves with double D cup sizes when they are only 13 or 14 years of age. Although surgeons usually draw the line at age 18 for breast surgery, in the case of a girl with virginal hypertrophy, they will make an exception. What they do prefer is that the young lady has been menstruating for at least two years before they operate.

Breast Asymmetry, a Cancer Marker

Breast asymmetry, whether corrected or not, has another feature attached to it. A study done in the UK in 2006 that was published in the Breast Cancer Research journal reported that each 3.38 ounce increase in breast asymmetry (measured by mammogram), predicted a 50% increase in the risk for breast cancer. The study involved 252 women and the researchers were pleased with the results. However, they say there is a need for a broader body of research and hope to confirm their findings through a study of 13,000 women who were free of breast cancer when they entered a study on menopause 25 years ago. Asymmetry then can join the list of possible markers for breast cancer.

Determining when or if breast surgery is necessary is based on communication between a doctor and patient. The article about uneven breasts in this section will give you a doctor's opinion on the issue.

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