A woman from Glasgow has revealed how she’s spent years asking medics for breast reduction surgery after living with excruciating back pain and being the victim of cruel jokes.
Jenna Todd, 27, said she’s been the target of jokes and humiliating nicknames because of her large breasts.
Jenna’s breasts, which are a size 30GG, cause her insufferable back pain, but she claims she’s been repeatedly denied breast reduction surgery by the NHS.
After having more than 100 appointments in the last 10 years, she’s been rejected for the surgery twice.
Jenna claims doctors have continued to tell her her chest will get smaller if she keeps losing weight, despite being only 5ft 6inches and weighing 9st 9lbs.
Jenna, a nursery practitioner, says she developed an eating disorder after doctors told her she had body dysmorphia, and suggested her back problem was ‘all in her head’.
She also said while some girls dream of having big boobs, it’s not the same as having ‘naturally large breasts’.
The back pain I experience everyday is excruciating but I have been left to feel like this is how I should feel.
I just want to have a day where I have no pain and don’t change my outfit over and over again because I can’t hide my chest without making myself look larger, making me feel even worse.
I’m exhausted from trying everything from exercise, physiotherapy, diets, anything advised, making no difference to my pain.
Having suffered with breast problems from a young age, Jenna said she was bullied at school by cruel classmates:
I have had a big chest since I was young. I was bullied a lot in school and felt quite depressed because of it.
Boys at that age don’t think they are bullying you, but the constant comments were hard to take.
Because of my last name, I got the nickname ‘T-O-Double-D’, it was so horrible.
At 16, when her back problems began, Jenna went to her GP with her mum to try to get referred for a reduction, saying:
My back was constantly sore, I didn’t want to take part in sport and I always felt embarrassed.
But the doctor said I was too young for major surgery and even said some girls would kill to be in my situation.
He said I should try and lose some weight and it should reduce the size of my chest.
After losing over two stone, exercising and even having physiotherapy, things still didn’t improve for Jenna, whose cup size remained the same.
When she turned 18, Jenna was referred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary to see a plastic surgeon, but was told to see a psychiatrist first.
After half an hour she had decided I had body dysmorphia.
I knew I didn’t – I felt happy with the rest of my body, it wasn’t in pain. I just wanted to have my breasts reduced to help with the pain in my back.
So I was denied the surgery because they claimed I had body dysmorphia, yet they didn’t offer me any help or counselling for it.
NHS guidelines state breast reduction surgery is only carried out in specific circumstances and under strict guidelines, which does not include back pain, as ‘breast reduction is not a useful primary treatment for breast, back, neck or shoulder pain’, according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.