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Bigger breasts linked to depression and eating disorders

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the popular health and fitness website of the same name, where she tries out a new workout every month, specializing...

New study shows that mismatched or too-big breasts harm mental health

Boob jobs for better health? A new study says yes, if you have mismatched or large breasts.

Bra-snapping led to my personal breast epiphany. It was sixth grade, and a rogue group of boys entertained themselves at recess by snapping the bras of unsuspecting girls. While my friends were alternately outraged and flattered by the attention, I was left out of the game.

It wasn't necessarily that I wanted to learn sexual harassment along with introductory algebra but I did feel bad that I was being excluded from the ritual shrieking and bonding afterward. One day I found out why. As I bent over my backpack looking for something, I heard two boys whispering behind me. I braced for impact, holding my breath in anticipation, and then heard, "Forget her. She doesn't even need a bra. She's got nothing!"

While today I'm totally fine with my tiny ta-tas — makes running a breeze! — growing up I was increasingly self-conscious of how little I had on top. So I wasn't at all surprised when I saw the new study linking breast size to mental health... until I saw that it linked larger breasts with depression.

According to research from Boston Children's Hospital, young women with very large or mismatched breasts (at least a cup size in difference) were more likely to report feeling depressed, anxious and having low self-esteem. Not only were the girls not reveling in all their boob-tacular glory but they reported a harder time interacting socially and a higher incidence of eating disorders.

Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery explains that mismatched and macromastia (overly large breasts) are "unfortunately often classified as a cosmetic issue [when it] is truly a condition which has lasting psychological and emotional effects."

Still, with the worship of round-breasted Victoria's Secret models (they're called "angels" for pity's sake!) and perky-chested actresses, it feels counterintuitive that women with bigger breasts would be so burdened by their assets, both physically and mentally. So I asked my friend Stacy, who recently had surgery to go from a "good golly Miss Molly double G" to a "decent double D" how she felt.

"It was absolutely life changing," she says. "I couldn't find shirts that fit my chest and if I did they were so baggy they made me look fat. And forget about finding a cute bra! Men always stared at my chest and since I even had cleavage in a turtleneck women always thought I looked slutty. Not to mention my 'GGirls' gave me terrible neck, back and head pain. This was the best thing I've ever done. My only regret is that I didn't do it when I was younger!"

Stacy's answer makes perfect sense, especially once I realized all the practical problems her large breasts had given her. So much for "breasts are always greener on the other chest!"

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