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Breast Asymmetry Affects Mental Health

Update Date: Nov 26, 2014 09:50 AM EST

Teenage girls with asymmetrical or overlarge breasts suffer from poor mental and emotional health, a new study found.

The study linked breast size during teenage to self-image, which researchers said determined overall mental health of girls. Researchers said medical intervention to reduce weight, counselling and surgery should be considered as it can substantially improve mental health, Daily Mail reported.

The study involved 59 teenagers with breast asymmetry aged between 12 and 21. They found that girls and young women scored substantially lower on social and emotional well-being compared to teenagers without breast asymmetry. Researchers also found that young women with macromastia, where the breasts are enlarged, had scores similar to study participants with asymmetry. Negative outcomes like eating problems in adolescence and young women was associated with breast asymmetry.

Researchers said breast asymmetry is not just a cosmetic issue though it is fairly common in early adolescence and improves over time.

"These findings suggest that patients suffering from breast asymmetry have poorer emotional well-being and lower self-esteem than their female peers. The observed impaired psychological well-being of adolescents with breast asymmetry may indicate the need for early intervention to minimize negative outcomes," researchers wrote, according to a press release.  

Yahoo News reported one of the study's authors Brain Labow saying that breast cancer has hogged all attention while other issues regarding breast health have been relegated to the backdrop.

He said cosmetic surgical intervention is only offered to older women and covered by insurance but breast asymmetry during early adulthood is not considered for coverage. While surgical intervention for breast symmetry should is an option only when nutritional change and weight management have failed, he opined the condition warrants medical attention as it can drastically improve mental health of young women.

The findings have been published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 

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