Many teen girls are so troubled by overly large breasts that they would consider breast reduction to feel better emotionally and physically, a new study suggests. The findings appear online in the July 16th issue of Pediatrics.

In the study, the attitudes and outlook of 96 girls between the ages of 12 and 21 with macromastia who had not had breast surgery were compared with those of 103 healthy girls in the same age range with no identified breast issues. All of the study participants answered questions about their physical functioning and pain, general health, body image and eating. They also responded to a questionnaire on breast-specific issues.

Macromastia has a substantial negative impact on health-related quality of life, self-esteem, physical symptoms and eating behaviors among adolescents, independent of a person’s weight or body mass index (BMI), the study showed. About two-thirds of adolescents with macromastia are overweight.

In the study, girls with macromastia reported a cup size that was DD, on average, while the girls without the condition reported a B cup size. Girls with macromastia reported higher rates of breast pain, skin rashes, and back, neck and shoulder pain. As a result of their large breasts, girls with macromastia were more likely to say they had trouble playing sports and finding clothes that fit. About 18 percent of participants with macromastia had eating disorder problems, compared with 6.6 percent of those without the condition.

[Source: Pediatrics]