Body & Sports

Virginal Breast Hypertrophy - the growing pains of some teen girls

Updated: 2010-08-15
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Virginal breast hypertrophy (VBH) is a rare medical condition which causes excessive growth of the breasts during puberty. The presence of excessively large breasts (hypertrophy) in teenagers is caused by over-sensitivity to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. VBH starts at puberty soon after the girl’s first menstrual period and can overwhelm a young girl’s life.

Alternate/Historical Names:
Juvenile hypertrophy
Juvenile gigantomastia
Juvenile mammary gigantism
Juvenile macromastia
Pubertal hypertrophy
Pubertal gigantomastia
Pubertal macromastia
Pubertal mammary gigantism
Teenage hypertrophy
Teenage gigantomastia
Teenage mammary gigantism
Teenage macromastia

Hypertrophy means the increase in the size of an organ or body part.
Macromastia (macro=large, mastia=breast)

The degree of virginal breast hypertrophy varies from woman to woman. In severe cases it is possible for a young women to have breasts that weigh well in excess of 20 lb. each.


"One medial investigation reported breasts as heavy as 50 lbs a piece in an American girl just 15 years of age."

With VBH, teenage girls experience enlargement of the nipples and their areola’s may change in color as they grow to cover the ever expanding breast. In very severe cases of VBH, hypertrophy of the clitoris can occur because of the increase of estrogen and progesterone in the young woman’s body.

Warning Signs:
The breasts start to grow quickly at the time of the first period
The breasts are large and out of proportion to rest of the body
The breasts give the appearance that they are engored with milk from pregnancy
The nipple and areolar area may stretch and become pale or lose pigment
The veins of the breast may be large and full

In some medical cases the VBH breast growth is not constant and comes in growth spurts. Young women with VBH may have minimal or no breast growth and then experience a growth spurt where the breasts grow very rapidly in a short period of time (often an entire cup size per week). These growth spurts can cause physical discomfort and sometimes a general ache is felt as the breasts expand and grow.

Early and excessive breast growth may also be the result of a disorder known as Precocious Puberty. Precocious Puberty is the premature release of the luteinizing hormone LHRH by the hypothalamus that triggers secretion of pituitary gonadotropin. As a consequence, the gonads function at an inappropriately early age and can result in the appearance of unwanted sexual characteristics.

"In females, the breasts start to develop before age 8 and menstruation occurs before age 10."

Diagnosis is made through a combination of clinical exams, blood tests for levels of hormones described above, and bone x-rays to determine bone age and development.

Young girls with Precocious Puberty may develop large breasts, grow pubic and underarm hair, menstruate and may ovulate. Afflicted individuals may encounter psychological problems due to their accelerated growth and may feel alienated from their peers. Parents will feel helpless and psychological counseling for the family is recommended.

These girls may exhibit increased aggressiveness and hyperactivity due to the rise in gonad functionality and can display an increase in sexual desire and sexual curiosity. Precocious Puberty in young girls can even lead to excessive masturbation. They are often found pleasuring themselves for hours as their focus on daily tasks deteriorates.

VBH and Precocious Puberty are not to be confused with “just” having large breasts. Millions of girls grow large breasts at an early age. VBH and Precocious Puberty are excessive and extreme. Consult your doctor should you notice any of the above warning signs.

A large number young girls have been emailing Hiddenfeet recently about a website called TooSoon. The website features plenty of useful information about Central Precocious Puberty (CPP) along with colorful stories and childrens coloring books.

Central precocious puberty is a condition in which puberty starts too soon in children. This occurs in one child of every 5,000 to 10,000 children and is more common in girls.

While we applaud some of the information provided by this site, TooSoon’s primary motivation is the sale of a drug know as Lupron Depot-PED. Lupron Depot-PED works in children by stopping the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormones. Stopping the production of these hormones delays the onset of their puberty. A child’s development of secondary sex characteristics, such as facial hair in boys or breast development in girls, will slow or stop.

Many visitors of Hiddenfeet are angry that the website TooSoon is preying on the insecurities of girls at an early age for the sake of selling the drug Lupron Depot-PED.

Quote from the TooSoon website:

"Another effect of CPP is social. Children with CPP are often embarrassed and confused by their early development, which can lead to social difficulties."

Our current medical consultant Lisa Elton is investigating this drug and the companies that produce it. We would like to hear from other doctors and parents who know children taking injections of Lupron Depot-PED. As with all drugs, Hiddenfeet urges parents to seek multiple medical opinions and research products as thoroughly as possible.




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