When Big Breasts Are a Big Pain

"Having breasts that size was horribly embarrassing," she says. "I didn't feel good about myself anymore; I was ashamed of myself. I fretted going clothes shopping because I'd go to nice clothing stores and they never carried anything that covered my chest. Many times I would look at my husband and just start crying."

Kelly's story is not an anomaly. She is one of thousands of American women who, for physical or emotional reasons, have had or are considering having their breast size reduced. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeon's 2007 national plastic surgery statistics, there were 106,179 breast-reduction procedures performed last year -- an increase of 25 percent since 2000.

Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Bermant of New York says his patients' breast reductions can be contributed to several major factors.

"One, they just don't like the size of their breasts," Bermant says. "Two, they find that even when they're doing nothing, the weight of their breasts tends to weight them down. And the third thing they complain about is that they feel that their breast size should be something that's determined by them.

"And, of course, they don't want people staring at them too much."

But Haig cautions against assuming that Hershey will experience similar kinds of emotional and physical pain.

"Not everybody who has large breasts will have neck and back pain. But on occasion I've seen people who've had breast reductions because of the pain they had in their back and shoulders and their pain was relieved because of it," he notes.

When Surgery Spells Relief

Still, breast reduction surgery is sweet relief for some. Kelly says that within a week of her surgery she was "feeling amazing" for the first time in years.

"You think it's going to be painful, but it was the best thing I could have done. It was a life-changing experience."

Since she is only one month out of surgery, Kelly doesn't know yet what her new bra size will be, but believes she's somewhere between a B and C cup.

"It's funny, you know? Every one of my friends has said, 'Man, I wish I could have what you have.' And I always say, 'You don't even know what they're asking for.'"

Apparently, Hershey and Kelly haven't met.

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