REAL LIFE: ‘My big breasts are ruining my life’

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Many women spend their lives longing for bigger breasts – and many spend thousands of pounds getting them.

But for 20-year-old Megan Smithard, having 36G breasts is a genuine nightmare.

Megan Smithard has set up a crowdfunding page to raise money to have a breast reduction   'Picture Ian Hargreaves  (180470-1)

Megan Smithard has set up a crowdfunding page to raise money to have a breast reduction 'Picture Ian Hargreaves (180470-1)

Megan, from Southsea, says her large bust has caused her mental health problems, insomnia, spinal pain and even bulimia.

And, having been refused breast reduction surgery on the NHS, she has now turned to online crowdfunding to help raise the £7,000 she needs for the operation, which she believes will help her live a normal life.

She says: ‘I understand that to some people it’s a dream come true to have big boobs but I feel like it’s ruining my life.

‘I feel trapped in my body because of them.’

This operation would be for my sanity, not my vanity

Women are bombarded with pictures in the media of the ‘perfect body’ which so often means big breasts.

But Megan says, since the age of 12, they have caused her nothing but anxiety and ruined her chances of a successful career as a florist because she’s in so much pain she can’t work full-time.

And she says men talk down to her because of her figure, making her feel ‘cheap’ – objectifying her both online and when they come face-to-face in real life.

‘I hate the way men treat you just because you have bigger boobs,’ she says, exasperated.

‘ I don’t go on nights out now because I feel like I can’t wear certain things because men feel like they can say whatever crude things they want to me and it’s acceptable.’

Megan’s childhood sweetheart Jordan Beer is a tower of strength.

‘I only feel comfortable going out clubbing if Jordan’s there now.

‘He’s my best friend, my rock and he helps me through everything,’ Megan explains.

Since the age of 12, Megan has struggled with her body image and the impact of having big breasts.

‘The size of my boobs and the pain really affected school, especially PE and therefore my self-confidence,’ she says.

‘I went to an all-girls school so sometimes it was hard not to compare myself to others.’

The weight of Megan’s breasts has always caused her pain in her back, neck and shoulders. It was at its worst in August 2017 and she begged her GP to refer her for a breast reduction operation.

However, in May she was told the NHS would not pay for it.

The NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group said they could not talk about Megan’s case but said the process of agreeing funding was complex.

It came as a huge blow to Megan, who was then prescribed painkillers by her GP instead.

Megan says: ‘I was shocked when I was told I couldn’t have the reduction, especially when some women can get a boob enlargement on the NHS.

‘I had seen on blogs that so many girls who had a breast reduction on the NHS were all a size smaller than me.

‘Therefore, I thought it would definitely happen. I was finally getting answers.

‘I cried straight away when they told me I couldn’t have the surgery. There is no way I can pay for that all by myself and there is no-one to lend me the money.’

To get a bra that fits properly, Megan has to pay around £65. But because she cannot work full-time she has little income.

‘As a florist, my job involves a lot of lifting crates of water and standing at the front of the shop’, she says.

‘I have to wear baggy clothes all the time. I can’t wear normal tops without them being too revealing for work.’

As a result, Megan’s last resort was to set up a Go Fund Me page to try and raise the £7,000 for treatment.

‘At first, I did not really want to make the page as I thought the problem should be up to me to sort out – it wasn’t anyone else’s problem.

‘But the pain still gets bad.

‘Waking up in the middle of the night with spasms in your legs, calling 111 and not knowing what else to do is very stressful.

‘Societal expectations make you think you must want bigger boobs, but you have to deal with the pain as a reality.

‘This operation would be for my sanity, not my vanity.’

Megan firmly believes getting a breast reduction would change her life for the better, enabling her to live the normal life of a 20-year-old that she craves.

‘If you do donate, I will be forever grateful. Even if it is just 50p, no-one knows how much this will change my life,’ Megan adds.

n To donate to Megan’s cause, go to the link gofundme.com/my-breast-journey

n To watch a video of Meghan talking about her problems, log onto portsmouth.co.uk

ESSENTIALS

Breast reduction surgery can help women who are unhappy with the shape, weight or droop of their breasts by making them smaller and more lifted.

But if it’s done to improve appearance, rather than for health reasons, it’s not normally available on the NHS. Instead, the procedure may have to be paid for privately.

According to NHS Choices, the eligibility criteria for a breast reduction on the NHS includes back ache, shoulder pain, psychological distress and an inability to exercise. But it depends on the local clinical commissioning group.

Dr Linda Collie, chief clinical officer for NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, said: ‘I am sorry to hear about Megan’s situation and the struggles she faces.

‘For some people, the NHS does fund breast reduction treatment and a clinician assesses whether this might be the best option for the patient. If they believe that surgery is appropriate, the case is referred to the Individual Funding Review panel.

‘The group is also supported by a consultant plastic surgeon who works at QA, and who reviews applications both in terms of whether the NHS should fund the case what sort of surgery should be offered.’