The appearance on UK television of the woman with the world’s largest natural breasts has highlighted the psychological and physical consequences of this condition.
Annie Hawkins-Turner’s Guinness World Record breasts are size 102ZZZ and weigh eight stone.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning programme, Ms Hawkins-Turner said her breasts started growing at the age of nine, and had caused her considerable emotional distress growing up.
It was not until later in life, when her husband encouraged her to showcase her bosom on adult websites, that she embraced her curves.
Mr Hawkins-Turner said she has learned to cope with weight of her breasts.
“Every time I get a new doctor they offer me surgery but I don’t need surgery. I’ve got a strong back and have never had back ache. I’ve had therapy on how to hold myself so I won’t hurt myself,” she told the TV audience.
“Sometimes it irritates me when people ask ‘how do you walk?’ I’m not handicapped. I’ve just got very large boobs which I’ve learned to take and just do marvellous things with,” she added.
Most women whose large breasts are out of proportion with their body complain of discomfort, backache, neck pain and skin irritation, as well as excessive attention from men, the difficulty of finding clothes that fit, and an inability to exercise.
Indeed, breast reduction surgery is the 4th most popular form of cosmetic intervention in women in the UK, with 4,218 operations performed in 2010.
The NHS will not pay for surgery for cosmetic reasons alone. There need to be sufficient physical and psychological benefits to the patient for the treatment to be authorized after a review process involving a GP, plastic surgeon and psychiatrist.