Female athletes believe the development of breasts could seriously hinder their careers – and could even prevent them from reaching Olympic standard.
And some are going to drastic lengths to remove them – or even to stop them developing in the first place.
According to ESPN magazine, gymnasts push themselves to the ‘brink of starvation’ to avoid developing breasts and a host of professional athletes have spent a lot of money to surgically reduce them.
‘For the modern athlete, the question isn’t whether breasts get in the way — it’s a question of how to compete around them’, the magazine reports.
Dr Puneet Gupta, Cosmetic Doctor at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, the first doctor in the UK ever to offer a non-surgical technique for breast reductions said: ‘For professional athletes who maintain intense training regimes, these problems will of course be felt far more heavily.
‘Training for long hours each day will only intensify the discomfort, meaning the size of their breasts won’t just get in the way of them exercising, but it can also affect their downtime away from sport, because it may take longer for them to rest and recover if they are still in pain in the back and breast areas.
‘Over the years the inability to exercise or take part in sport has certainly become a more commonly cited reason for patients I see who are seriously considering undergoing a reduction.
Dr Gupta says that medical advancements may also have contributed to the growing number of female athletes undergoing breast reductions.
‘Now there are non surgical breast reduction methods that exist, which can allow women to undergo a reduction with very limited downtime.
‘For females who train regularly or are actively involved in sport, but are being prevented from doing so because of the size of their breast, a minimally invasive reduction technique could be a feasible solution, reducing the amount of time they would need to take away from sport to recover.
He does, however, warn of the dangers of breast reduction in young athletes, many who are under the age of 25.
‘It’s important to note though that a breast reduction won’t be suitable for everyone. It is actually a procedure which is most suited to post-menopausal women, so a very young athlete, for example, might not be suitable for treatment,’ he adds.