The mom, the feminine breast, is a symbol of nourishment, love and motherhood. Unfortunately, numerous anomalies can occur in this area. One of them is gigantomastia.
What is gigantomastia?
Gigantomastia (also macromastia, hypermastia or mammahypertrophy, translated: giant breast) is an excessively large system of the female breast. It can be unilateral or bilateral. Due to glandular hyperthonia with the accompanying increase in fat, there is a pathological enlargement of the breast.
According to the textbook, a breast is considered excessively large if it weighs more than one thousand grams per side. However, many specialists strongly oppose this criterion, which is far too general, as the individual proportions of the woman’s body are not taken into account.
For example, for a woman who is 1.50 meters and a body weight of 46 kilograms, a chest weight of 500 grams can be a major burden. Affected adolescents are referred to as juvenile gigantomastia. The pathological enlargement of a man’s breast is called gynecomastia.
The causes of a gigantomastia are largely unexplained. Factors such as heredity, hormonal changes (for example during pregnancy or puberty) and obesity, which leads to an increase in the percentage of fat in the breasts, are discussed.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
The primary symptoms of a huge breast are largely sagging breasts with an elapsed nipple and an enlarged areola. The affected women mostly suffer from physical complaints such as postural problems, neck and back pain due to the weight of the too large breast, bra constrictions and skin diseases.
It can also lead to sore skin folds (intertrigo) or mycoses (fungal infections), which nestle in the area of the underbust fold, especially in summer. Furthermore, there may be signs of wear and tear on the cervical and thoracic spine and fingers falling asleep. Sports activities and finding the right clothing size are often a major challenge or hardly or not at all.
The psychological aspect should not be neglected either. Affected women have the feeling of being stared at and mocked by other people, which can lead to an unconscious curvature of the posture with which they are trying to hide their bosom.
It is not uncommon for insecurity, feelings of inferiority, a distorted image of one’s own body or even depression to occur. A minimizer bra can protect against prying eyes, but the weight is retained and a significant burden on the entire musculoskeletal system.
A detailed anamnesis as well as visual and tactile findings are used for diagnosis. The breasts are weighed and their size is assessed in relation to the proportions of the patient’s body. For comparison, the preoperative visual findings are also documented using photos and, if necessary, an ultrasound examination (sonography) is carried out.
The gigantomastia results in very large and sagging breasts. In most cases, the nipple is also greatly enlarged in this disease. The large breasts cause most people to experience pain in the back and neck as the weight on the front of the body is increased.
This can lead to serious discomfort and pain over a long period of time. Different skin diseases can also develop on the breasts. In many cases, the large breasts are an aesthetic problem as most patients feel uncomfortable with them. Feelings of shame, reduced self-confidence and, not infrequently, inferiority complexes arise.
These symptoms can reduce the quality of life and also lead to psychological complaints and depression. It is not uncommon for the women concerned to be looked at excessively, which can lead to severe disturbances of consciousness. Treatment usually does not lead to complications.
The breasts can be reduced in size or the patient has to seek physiotherapy. In the case of breast cancer, the damaged areas are also surgically removed. The further course of the disease depends on the spread of the cancer.
When should you go to the doctor?
Since the gigantomastia has a very negative effect on the quality of life of the person affected, a visit to a doctor is usually recommended. Those affected should then see a doctor if they have a very sagging chest.
The nipple itself can also be affected by abnormalities. Typically, these abnormalities do not need treatment if they are just an aesthetic complaint. However, medical treatment of the gigantomastia is necessary if the patient also suffers from back pain or severe neck pain as a result.
Various skin manifestations can also indicate gigantomastia and should be examined. Often the disease also leads to psychological complaints or depression, so that those affected are also dependent on psychological treatment. In the case of this disease, a general practitioner or a gynecologist can primarily be seen. Further treatment, however, depends on the exact symptoms and usually requires an operation.
Treatment & Therapy
The symptoms that are triggered, such as tension in the neck and back area, can be alleviated by physical measures (physiotherapy, massages). However, this does not eliminate the cause, namely the heavy weight of the breast. This can only be guaranteed with a breast reduction surgery (breast reduction).
This significantly improves the patient’s quality of life. The symptoms are often alleviated immediately after the reduction in size. During this surgical procedure, the breast is reduced to an adequate level and excess tissue is removed. During the operation, the glandular tissue can be removed both on the side and in the upper outer area of the breast as well as in the lower part.
The advantage of removing the upper outer quadrant is that, according to international studies, patients are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who have had the lower area removed or those who have not had an operation. A disadvantage of this treatment is the scarring that can be seen below the breast after the operation.
Since the tissue in women with large breasts tends to be weak due to their heavy weight and the skin is stretched a lot, sagging breasts can occur due to the fact that the skin cannot contract sufficiently. It is therefore advisable to have the tissue tightened during the procedure in order to correct large and sagging breasts equally.
In addition to the operation, additional measures, such as targeted back training, are recommended. Since gigantomastia is recognized as a breast malformation, the costs of the operation are in many cases borne by the health insurance companies. You must apply to your health insurance company to cover the costs.
It is advantageous to obtain medical reports on this, which refer to the urgency of a surgical procedure to eliminate the gigantomastia and the associated problems. In the case of a huge breast due to severe obesity, conservative therapy in the form of weight reduction and regular gymnastics to strengthen the back muscles is recommended.
Outlook & forecast
A gigantomastia does not recede on its own. Because both breasts together weigh more than 10 kilograms, this quickly leads to postural damage due to an unhealthy relieving posture as well as back pain and other complaints due to their expansion to other muscles. If the affected woman takes pain medication regularly for this reason, these can have long-term harmful effects on various internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys.
If nothing is done about the gigantomastia, skin inflammation around the chest often occurs. These are caused by the constant friction of sensitive skin. Fungal infections are also common in the folds of the body around the chest, especially in the warm season. Sweat, which cannot always be washed away immediately, builds up moisture under the breast and provides an optimal breeding ground for skin fungus.
The only prospect of alleviating the discomfort is surgical reduction of both breasts that have become too large. Many women welcome this not only to alleviate the symptoms, but also because in gigantomastia they often have irregularly sized breasts and this can also be remedied with surgical reduction. The earlier the gigantomastia can be surgically corrected, the better the prospect of a life without permanent postural damage and permanent back and neck pain after the operation.
Since the causes cannot be clearly identified, preventive measures can only be taken to a limited extent. Heredity and hormonal changes cannot be prevented. The only risk factor that turns out to be influenceable is being overweight. A moderate diet and regular exercise can maintain normal weight and prevent an excessive increase in fatty tissue on the breast.
In the case of a gigantomastia, there are usually no special follow-up options available to those affected. The patient primarily relies on direct treatment for the disease. This is the only way to prevent further complaints or even complications. Self-healing cannot occur.
The symptoms of gigantomastia are usually alleviated by means of physiotherapy or physiotherapy. Many of the exercises from these therapies can also be performed in your own home, with the help of friends or family being very helpful. Since gigantomastia also significantly increases the risk of breast cancer, regular examinations of the body should be carried out in order to detect a possible tumor disease early and then treat it.
In some cases, surgery is also necessary to relieve the discomfort or to tighten the chest. After such an operation, the person affected should rest and take care of their body. Exhausting activities should be avoided after an operation, and stressful situations should also be avoided. The life expectancy of the person affected may be reduced by the gigantomastia.
You can do that yourself
Since the causes of gigantomastia can be very diverse, no general statement can be made about the possibilities of self-help with this disease.
However, if the gigantomastia occurs after taking certain medications or after a hormonal change, the symptoms can be alleviated by changing the medication. However, this change should only be carried out after consulting a doctor. Furthermore, a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and sporting activities can have a positive effect on gigantomastia. Above all, excessive fat tissue should be worked off.
However, if these measures do not help, those affected are usually dependent on an operative intervention. Since the gigantomastia can also have a negative effect on the back, the patient should strengthen the back muscles. There are various exercises available to those affected, which can also be performed at home. Tension in the neck or shoulders can also be avoided.
Self-treatment is not possible in the case of breast cancer. Those affected are usually dependent on the support of their friends and family. In this way, psychological upsets or depression can be avoided.