This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
AIBU to think the NHS should cover this?(167 Posts)
I know I'll probably get slated for this but I just don't understand it.
I've always had large breasts and a small frame. I'm 5'1, 50kg, size 6-8. My breasts are a 32H. During pregnancy they got absolutely massive, I have no idea what size - but huge! Now they've settled back but they're still massive.
I have severe back pain and neck pain. I have injured traps from trying to support them and this has caused nerve damage so I get shooting pains down both my arms and have a loss of sensation in my left hand. I also get twitches in my hands. The pain on my neck/shoulders means I can't do things that involve having my arms forwards for more than a few minutes at a time (like typing, cooking, writing, driving etc). I've been to physio multiple times and done so many exercises but nothing helps. They've all suggested ensuring my bras are properly fitted but that hasn't helped either. They've ended up all saying that the only option is to have my breasts reduced.
Because they got so big during my pregnancy and have now deflated a bit, I have a tonne of excess skin. So, they hang down almost to my belly button. The excess skin gets irritated and infected because there's so much of it. I have to wash it multiple times a day, use aloe vera to try to keep it cool and talcum powder to try and keep it try. I take baby wipes, aloe vera and talcum powder everywhere I go because it gets so hot and sore.
On top of all that, it's affecting my career. I work in a professional field but there are no outfits that I can wear that don't look unprofessional because of the size of my breasts. Anything that's button up either bursts over them or is so large on the rest of me that it looks sloppy. Anything too high neck makes them look even larger and draws more attention to them. Anything low neck is obviously a problem too.
I simply cannot afford to have them reduced - it costs so much money and I just do not have it. Every time I've spoken to my GP, they've just said "it's a cosmetic procedure - you can't get this on the NHS". Surely it's not fair that I'm in agony all day every day. It I were experiencing this pain and these symptoms because of any other body part then the NHS would help but there seems to be some kind of decision that breasts are exempt from help.
AIBU to think someone should be helping me!?
Can you see another gp? This is sometimes done on the nhs but it seems your doctor is not sympathetic.
I agree op. That's awful - sounds so debilitating.
Find a sympathetic GP and show them what you've written here. I think if it affects your physical and mental health they should refer you. Good luck
That’s not a cosmetic procedure. Hi again and complain to the practice manager if they brush you off again.
I know people who have had reductions on the NHS. Get a second opinion. It sounds like your mental health is being adversely affected.
It does sound like you’re very big and I thought reductions were available on the NHS (just not super easy to access) so not sure why you’re being told an outright no?
But if you’re 5”1 and a size 6-8, are you sure you’re a 32 band? I’d expect more like a 28, and getting the right support in the band would probably really help your pain?
Absolutely insist on a referral. As an aside I would ensure your family is complete first else they may grow again etc with more DC!
YANBU because it’s not your GP’s decision to take whether surgery is appropriate or not. He should make a referral at least so you can be assessed. You still may he refused surgery unfortunately but then you can appeal and keep persisting. There still are some breast reductions done on the NHS.
Ask to see another more sympathetic GP, take a list of steps you have taken and request a referral.
I would also look at all finance options for private surgery since the NHS route is likely to be extremely long and tiresome even if you are successful.
No slating from me, I absolutely think the NHS should cover it.
That sounds utterly miserable.
Can I just say a 32H sounds wrong on a size 6-8 though? I suspect you’re more like a 28 back and a J/K/L cup. Your back size generally is your dress size plus 20. You’ll get more support from a properly fitting bra.
Regardless I think a breast reduction is NOT cosmetic in this case.
The NHS guidance says you should contact your local CCG To find out their eligibility criteria. It does sound like you could qualify. (Although this is England it may well differ elsewhere)
My mum has just paid to have hers reduced privately for he same reason. NHS claiming it is cosmetic when actually it caused her acute back pain for years and left her with open sores. She is delighted now, but recovery was tough and far longer than normal as the skin was so very thin from years of rubbing and splitting open. I think it is unconscionable that this procedure is seen as merely cosmetic when it causes so much pain and affects simple daily tasks to such a huge extent, even down to sleeping.
I think it should be covered but your GP probably isn't fobbing you off, just knows that it's something your CCG won't cover.
YANBU. No way is it simply a cosmetic procedure either, it's a health issue & is about quality of life.
I've just been reading the NHS guidance on eligibility; it looks like you tick all of the boxes. I would ask to speak to another GP & also contact your local CCG to confirm your eligibility.
Unfortunately some areas don't fund it at all, which is fucking outrageous imho. Another example of Women being expected to put up & shut up
Good luck, I hope you get the help you need x
My mum was a similar size, she got Breast cancer and had to have a lumpectomy, the surgeon was such a lovely chap, he made the affected breast a perfect C cup ... and did the other one at the same time!! Slightly drastic way of getting a more 'comfortable chest'!
This was nearly 10 years ago and she said he revolutionised her life and regrets not finding a way to have a reduction earlier on in life
Rather than waiting for the NHS (who I agree should absolutely fund it), is there any way you could pay for it yourself?
See another GP. BUT, at your weight and height 32 sound too big on the back. I'm a 32M/34LL at the moment. I'm 5'2 and weigh nearly 20Kg more than you. When I was 50kg I had a 28 back measurement. If the bra back is too big it will be exacerbating your back pain.
A former colleague had a similar problem and paid for the procedure.
She never regretted it.
Definitely agree with the smaller band
I'm a 16 and wear a 34K with no discomfort really , but a 38 band would be awful for example
I too think the NHS should pay for a breast reduction.
You don't want it for vanity purposes, you need it for medical purposes.
Hope you can find a more sympathetic doctor.
My cousin had same problems caused by her huge boobs and hers were reduced on NHS about 10 years ago.
If you can't get NHS to do a reduction, could you take out a loan to finance privately? I've done a quick google, and costs appear to be around £6500. The Nuffield site offers 10 month interest free medical loans to cover costs (but I can't see what their costs are)
My cousin also got a reduction on the NHS, she had similar cup size but was a size 12, and still got it done. I agree you should see another gp and be really specific about how this is impacting your ability to live a normal life (write it down in advance if you need)?
I agree with others about your bra size. Obviously this wont eliminate all your pain but I'm a 14 and wear a 34F and you're much smaller than me.
Hi if you type your local CCG area and procedures of lower clinical importance you’ll get a locally agreed list which states when they accept referrals for breast reductions
And then you can check the criteria and go back to the GP
I was literally thinking this and looking up the cost privately last night. £7.5k privately one my area, way beyond what I can afford. I'm a GG-H and they absolutely kill me. Last night I had raw red marks around my rib cage from my bra in the heat, and my back and neck are always painful.
It's so unfair to label it as a cosmetic procedure, it's not cosmetic at all. If men had a similar problem i doubt very much it would be classed as cosmetic.
Have a look at your local care trusts guidelines for the procedure as it varies from area to area.
Ask to see another GP. There are some people who do get breast reduction on the NHS because of back pain etc. From your description it sounds as if you might qualify. When you speak to them, focus entirely on the medical aspects - the pain, the infections from the excess skin. Don’t mention the stuff about professional clothes, that makes it sound like a cosmetic issue rather than a medical one.
Join the discussion
Please login first.