Mum develops rare breast condition doctors mistook for simple mastitis
Jonalyne's extreme condition began when she started experiencing symptoms three years ago.
Jonalyne Bacus wasn’t expecting the massive changes that happened in just three years. The 24-year-old mum developed a condition known as gigantomastia, which causes enlargement of the breasts.
Jonalyne – a mum from Cebu in the Phillipines – shared her daily struggles in a Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho feature. She has difficulty taking a bath as well as walking and sleeping. Her breasts always feel hot and itchy and she can no longer fit into her old clothes. What’s more, no regular-sized bras fit her, so she has to make ones out of her old clothes.
Due to embarrassment because of her condition, she has isolated herself from her neighbours, who would mock her and make her feel awkward.
Jonalyne considers her consecutive pregnancies to be the cause of her condition. In the interview, she recounts how she first noticed the slow enlargement of her breasts for over a few weeks. When she went for a check-up, the doctor diagnosed it as breast mastitis. She was prescribed some antibiotics, but they did not work for her.
The Mum with Gigantomastia Lost Her Third Child and Is Now Expecting Again
One of the most heartbreaking parts was when her third child, John Niño, was born with meningitis and died a few days after his birth. However, Jonalyne says that it would be harder for John if he had lived because of his condition.
Now a mother to two daughters, Jonalyne is currently pregnant. She is four months along. Because of her condition, she feels that she’s unable to fulfill her duties as a wife and mother that’s why she is grateful to her husband, Jason Pitogo who now helps out around the house while providing for them. But they still struggle to make ends meet.
Due to a lack of funds, she has stopped getting the tests she needs done at the hospital. Fortunately, the GMA News team allowed her to consult a specialist, who diagnosed her with gestational gigantomastia.
Here are Some Things You Need to Know About Gigantomastia
What is Gigantomastia?
Gigantomastia is a rare condition that only occurs in women, which causes excessive growth of breasts. According to some researchers, it requires reduction of 1,000 to 2,000 grams per breast.
The growth of the breast can happen in a span of a few years. However, some cases reported growth of three or more cup sizes in only a few days. Breast growth can be unilateral (one breast) or bilateral (two breasts).
What Are Its Symptoms and Causes?
A woman with gigantomastia might experience breast pain (mastalgia) and infections or abscesses. There will be redness, itchiness, and warmth on or under the breasts as well as loss of nipple sensation. Due to the excess weight of the breasts, the woman will also experience poor posture and pain in the shoulders, back, and neck.
Its exact cause is unknown and the reported cases have only amounted to a couple hundred. Some believe that female hormones like prolactin and estrogen play a role in its cause.
What Are the Types of Gigantomastia?
The events that may have triggered gigantomastia divide the condition into several subtypes.
Jonalyne’s condition is called gestational or pregnancy-induced gigantomastia. It occurs in pregnant women usually during the first trimester. Some believe that pregnancy hormones trigger it. This condition happens in just one out of 100,000 pregnancies.
Puberty-induced or juvenile gigantomastia is another subtype. It occurs in adolescents (ages 11 to 19). Sex hormones cause this condition.
Medication or drug-induced gigantomastia occurs after taking certain medication, especially D-penicillamine.
Is There a Treatment for It?
Gigantomastia has no standard treatment yet, as its interventions vary on a case-to-case basis. Pregnancy-induced gigantomastia might resolve on its own after giving birth.
Reduction mammoplasty is a type of breast reduction surgery. It is considered in most cases, as it is safe and effective.
Mastectomy is another type of surgery that offers a more definitive treatment. The doctor might prescribe taking medications as well.
For Jonalyne who is four months pregnant, she has to wait until she has given birth before she can have a breast reduction surgery.
It is advised to treat gigantomastia as early as possible to avoid more complications, but the good news is that it does not cause cancer nor does it spread to other parts of the body.
If you are interested in helping Jonalyne, you can find out how to reach her in the video below.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Philippines