Ladies: Are you over 50 and considering a boob-reduction?  Hope you’re healthy then, because a recent study shows that you’re at an increased risk for infection. That’s right. And on top of that, women over 50 also have a higher rate of wound-healing problems as compared to younger women, leading to a higher rate of repeat surgery to remove areas of dead skin (debridement). Something to think about if you’re considering a slash to the sag.

The study conducted at Johns Hopkins University looked at 1,192 women who had breast reduction surgery between 1999 and 2009 and found that the post-surgery infection rate for women over 50 was 2.7 times higher than for those under 40.
Researcher believe that the differences are due to age-related changes to hormone levels. Yes, of course! And the reason is that they found older women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were less likely to have post-surgery infections. Further, women who had undergone hysterectomy or removal of the ovaries, both of which result in large decreases in hormone levels, had higher rates of infection. Accordingly, the study’s authors conclude that doctors should investigate any factors that might effect hormone levels in women considering breast reduction surgery, and that hormone replacement therapy might be warranted in women with reduced hormone levels.
So why would I say “hope you’re healthy?” Because health isn’t simply which chemical or hormone we’re missing. When the body is in a state of wellness, it’s missing nothing. Why not instead encourage older women to do some things that might improve their health overall? Why not encourage younger women now to maintain their health to their best ability?
Spoke to a lovely lady this evening in my practice who told me that she does what she does cosmetically because it makes her feel better about herself, which in turn, motivates her to do other right things for herself (like exercise and eat well, etc). While I certainly understand where she’s coming from on an emotional level, I’d say it’s somewhat illogical reasoning: You alter yourself through surgery so that you feel better about yourself, and then you exercise and eat well?
Ladies, your body is yours to do what you deem appropriate. But I assure you that by doing the right things:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Eating whole, natural foods
  • Supplementing with vitamin D and calcium
  • Visiting your chiropractor regularly
  • Getting regular body work
  • Being aware of your body (through gyno checkups and breast self-exams)
  • Minimizing alcohol and tobacco use
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Getting plenty of rest
…you should be healthy for years to come. And if you are in your fifties and pick up these habits now, your highly intelligent body will rebalance itself. If you don’t feel better about yourself then, it’s time for me to hang up my hands (sorry, I’m a chiropractor: it’s all I could think of…). At the very least, if you decide to get that breast reduction after all, then you’ll be in the best shape to handle the surgery.

One Response to Women Over 50: Health Choices

  1. Nick, you are spot on with this article. My wife and I read this together with great interest and we couldn’t agree more. Mary is presently looking for a good Chiropractor here on the island (Isle of Man) because she has problems with her hip which the hospital says could be a trapped nerve as there is no physical wear or tear that they can detect. Can you give us any advice on what to look for when choosing. It is a pity you don’t live closer as we both feel that you are the best!

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