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Boobs: the conversation grows

Breast reduction to a manageable, healthy size should not be considered cosmetic surgery.

Breast reduction to a manageable, healthy size should not be considered cosmetic surgery.

Published Jan 22, 2022


Durban - Some people got some stuff off their chests after last week’s column about breast reduction and raised some interesting points.

The couch science council lamented the pain and shame some women suffer because of over-large boobs and encouraged readers to sign a petition for medical aids to recognise that reduction surgery is not cosmetic.

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One wrote that her late friend had suffered so badly with rashes in the humid Durban summers that the correspondent “actually wrote to a bra manufacturer suggesting they design a bra with removal pads that could absorb perspiration. They did not take up my suggestion (sad/cross-face emoji)”.

FYI, bra-makers: apart from the sweaty bits, something like this could also be soft enough to help with comfort. If big-breasted women have to strap up in wire and ugliness, with “support straps” that cause shoulders to cave, at least the under-bits could be comfy.

She also had some words for carmakers, a problem I had not included but which I instantly hear-heared:

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“I have also realised that car manufacturers have not taken the female anatomy into account when designing their seat belts.

“While I am an average 36C, I find the seat belt inevitably sits right across the middle of my left boob and I fear what would happen to it in a sudden stop, or worse, an accident. If I carefully adjust the belt between my boobs it quickly re-adjusts itself across my boob. If I try positioning the belt to the side of my boob the belt goes across my neck and I fear I would be strangled. I’ve even discovered that you can adjust the seat belt by moving it up or down, but whatever position it is in, it still seems to press on my boob.

“I wonder how many other women have this problem and if they have found an answer – or a sympathetic car manufacturer.”

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Combine the heat and resultant “glowing” breasts and a seat belt that acts like a mammogram machine, and you get a double whammy here. Even the previously suggested 500g sandbags for medical aid decision-makers cannot experience the grossness this combo causes.

The most touching one was from a non-working mother.

She said she was using her life savings to get the surgery for her daughter. The young woman, apart from the physical discomfort and pain, had suffered five years of bullying while she was at school. The mother’s hope is that the teenager can start her tertiary education afresh, without the bitchy remarks that have made her life miserable.

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The couch thinks the petition should go further and ask that the condition be recognised across the board for the serious issue it is.

So many women do not even have medical aid and get basic primary care at clinics.

There is virtually zero chance that these women could contemplate the weightless freedom reduction surgery would bring. The state providing this relief is perhaps a dream too far considering all the other challenges it faces, including looting and theft.

To sign the petition, go to and search for “breast reduction”.

Please email me if you are willing to share your experiences and join the drive for this change.

The Independent on Saturday

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