My 36JJ boobs could have smothered me in my sleep & sagged to my bellybutton, I'm glad I have them reduced

AS the nurse helped me over to the hospital mirror, I stared at my bandaged chest.

After years of struggling with gross comments from men, back pain and breathing difficulties due to my 36JJ breasts, I’d finally had a reduction, taking me down to a 36C.

As I looked at my reflection, I felt more than happy – I finally felt free. 

Ironically, at primary school in Bramley, Leeds, I was the smallest child in my class.

Then suddenly, in 2009, aged 13, my boobs developed seemingly overnight to a DD cup.

They got in the way when I played hockey and netball, and I had to wear two sports bras at the same time. I also noticed I was getting out of breath more easily.

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At first, I thought it was a sign to work on my fitness, but the fatigue when I did sport and the deep grooves in my skin from my bra straps meant I often had to give up trying. 

By 15, I was an F cup and was getting constant attention from the boys at school.

One day, I overheard them refer to me as ‘the black girl with the massive tits.’ I was mortified, but I kept it to myself.

Even worse were the stares from older men, sometimes 20 years my senior. Feeling increasingly insecure, I began dressing in baggy clothes to hide my chest. 

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Two years later, I had gone up to a G cup and was a size 16 in tops, though a size 10 in trousers. 

In summer, I suffered as the sweat under my boobs would cause the skin to turn red raw. I also snored because of the extra weight on my chest, and there were times I was forcibly woken up by friends or family as they were worried I’d stopped breathing. 

Fed up, I went to my GP in early 2013. She told me that I had sleep apnoea – a potentially serious disorder where your breathing stops and starts repeatedly.

She explained it was likely caused by the weight of my breasts, and discussed a breast reduction with me. But at 11st 8lb and 5ft 4in, I’d need to lose a minimum of 7lb before I could be referred. 

I started dieting and at one point lost over a stone – but my boobs stayed the same size. Each time I went back to the GP, I was told I needed to lose more to increase the likelihood of the surgery being approved. 

By 21, I was studying nursing at Leeds University and wearing a 36JJ bra. Sick of dieting, I had given up on getting a reduction, but was still suffering from back pain and breathlessness.

The GP said that my breasts were actually weighing down on my chest muscles and ribs, making it harder for me to breathe.

I moved to Cape Town to study in May 2019 and, when lockdown hit, I took up running, investing in £75 sports bras and sticking to cool mornings.

But the summer months were too hot to run in, plus, as there’s a lot of gender-based violence in South Africa, I was worried my chest would get attention.

So my father Tino, 49, offered to pay for me to get the breast reduction done in the city, where at £3,500 it’s much cheaper than going privately in the UK – I was quoted £6,500 for the op there. I felt so lucky to have his support.

My mum Dephin, 49, came with me to the surgery in February this year. Waking up after the op, I was in pain, but overjoyed to hear I’d had 7lb of tissue removed, taking my chest down to a C cup.

My life has completely changed since my breast reduction. Whereas my chest used to sag down to my belly button, it now barely droops.

The sleep apnoea and breathing problems have disappeared, and I look so much slimmer overall. I can’t go to the gym yet as my breasts are still healing, but I’ve been on walks and my chest feels so much less tight.

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I’m excited to wear bralets and cute dresses that I was too nervous to try before, too. And I’m working up the courage to start dating again. 

My only regret is that I didn’t get the operation sooner, as I finally feel like I’m living in a body I like.


The average bra size in the UK is 36DD. 

Annie Hawkins-Turner, 64, from Atlanta, Georgia in the US, holds the Guinness World Record for the largest natural breasts at a whopping 102ZZZ.

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