Can Large Breasts Cause Breathing Problems?

Women with disproportionately large breasts often contend with a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, from skin irritation and pain to self-consciousness and a negative body image. With the excess chest weight that comes with a dominating breast size, labored breathing—even during the most leisurely activities—is not uncommon.

In healthy women, large breasts may not always reduce the capacity to breathe easily. However, a dominating breast size is often associated with a higher body mass index (BMI), which has been shown to potentially result in breathing issues. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, extra fatty tissue on the chest can cause the release of hormones that negatively impact breathing patterns. This may explain why some patients with large, heavy breasts—which are composed of both glandular and fatty tissue—may experience shortness of breath as well as strained breathing throughout their day. Consequently, these breathing issues can prevent individuals from exercising or participating in certain recreational activities.

In some cases, breast reduction surgery may help alleviate breathing difficulties caused by large breasts. This is accomplished by removing redundant skin, fat, and breast tissue, thereby eliminating excess weight in the chest and producing a more proportionate breast size. If you believe your breasts are inhibiting your breathing, it’s important for you to first consult with a doctor or plastic surgeon about whether breast reduction may help you breathe easier. That said, the procedure is known for helping patients feel lighter and more comfortable in their own bodies, which can result in an array of potential health benefits.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Neal Goldberg, please contact our NYC-area office today.

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