Feb 162011

“Do you realize that your left breast hangs lower than your right?” – OB to mother who was asked to open her gown so she can be observed more clearly.

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 February 16, 2011  OB, prenatal  Add comments

  42 Responses to “"Do You Realize That Your Left Breast Hangs Lower Than Your Right?"”

  1. “So does your left testicle…what’s your point?”

  2. THAT’S NORMAL. Grrr.

  3. Do your breasts hang low, do they wiggle to and fro, can you tie them in a knot, can you tie them in a bow… Ahem. Is THAT why you wanted me to take off my gown? Surely you’ve seen lopsided breasts before. Most women have a breast that’s one cup size larger than the other. Sometimes more than one cup size. You mean you never noticed that, until now? What else have you been missing?

  4. I find that medically irrelevant. I would want to say, “Yes. Do you realize you’re bald?”
    Why can’t some doctors see the difference between clinical observations and insults?

  5. Actually, isn’t that something to note because if it had recently changed, it could indicate breast cancer? So if the woman said, “Yes, that’s true,” the doctor wouldn’t be as worried as if she said, “Oh, wow, that’s totally different than last year!”

    • Yeah, I had the same thought… size difference, especially a change, can be a factor, but the phrasing here… “hangs”… is just… *side eye*

    • Sure, but a better way to obtain that information might be “have you observed any changes in the size of either breast? Do those changes correspond to your monthly cycles?” Besides, “hanging lower” doesn’t necessarily indicate a size difference as much as it does a difference in connective tissue structure (ask me how I know).

      • I didn’t say the doctor wasn’t a clod, nor that (based on future information downthread) he wasn’t a pervert. Only that the information might indicate something under certain circumstances. I agree based on further information that the doctor fully deserves star treatment here on MOBSW.

  6. This is me. My submission. That Dr. was just plain weird. To make the whole thing more surreal, he was sitting across the room on his wheelie stool with his arms crossed, just staring at me sitting on the edge of the exam table with my paper gown opened.

    • Did you feel that there was a valid reason he wanted to “observe” you better? I’ve only ever been asked to open the front of my gown for a breast exam, which can’t be done from sitting across the room. So I’m wondering what his reason was for having you expose your breasts. The comment causes me to worry that he was just ogling you. Did you get that feeling?

      • Yeah… This throws up a red flag for me. Sounds like he’s abusing his power as a doctor and just trying to look at breasts without a medical reason. I’ve NEVER had a doctor ask me to open my gown until they’re right next to me and ready to do the exam.

        • The only doctor I can recall who did not do this was a doctor I saw once or twice as a teenager. I was taught years ago to stand in front of a full length mirror at the beginning of my monthly breast self-exams to note any changes. Sometimes taking a step back allows you to see the overall picture better. I have fibrocystic issues, and standing back to look in the mirror DOES help me to notice changes in overall shape – which has happened several times.

          I actually had a doctor tell me during the first time he examined me “I’m sure you know this by now, but one is larger than the other. Want to guess which one?” He was a family doc that I had been going to for a while, and I knew him pretty well, so it actually came across as humorous. Had another doctor said it, or had I not known him so well, it would not have come across that way. I don’t think he would have put it that way to someone he did not know well, though.

          That being said, it could be that the OP’s doctor was being weird. Only she can decide on that one…

      • Actually, a thorough breast exam includes the doctor looking at your breasts while you’re sitting up to note any differences, like someone else mentioned.

        OP’s sense that he was weird does strongly suggest that this guy was out of line. But it can be a legitimate thing to do.

        OP, was there a nurse in the room or were you alone with him? Most male doctors I’ve known wouldn’t even consider doing a breast exam without a nurse present. They’re too afraid of being falsely accused.

    • Ew. What a creepy doctor.

    • It was a while back, with my 1st child. I was new to such exams so really didn’t think much of it at the time, but yes, today I know better and red flags would be popping out everywhere. At the time it would never have occurred to me that a doctor would want to just ogle me for his own pleasure.

    • and this is why it creeped me out to no end for the longest time that my grampa was an OB. I kind of figured that any male who would want to go into this field must be… like that guy.

      ftr I don’t think my grampa was like that.

    • INSTINCTS COUNT. He definitely sounds like a creep.


  8. When my babies were newborns my milk supply fluctuated so that my breasts were lopsided after every feeding. Not really that unusual and certainly not worth oogling. What an icky doctor.

  9. Well, you know what they say; righty tighty, lefty loosey.

  10. This reminds me of something weird that happened to me. I was in my mid-thirties with no risk factors for heart disease. I was maybe 10lbs overweight with normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol. My male family practice doctor wanted to do an EKG as a “baseline”. I declined, telling him I didn’t think it would be covered by my insurance since it wasn’t clinically indicated. Really I thought it was just weird. He told he thought I was very nice but argumentative. I thought he wanted to look at my chest.

    • The family practitioner that told me I should schedule a pelvic exam when I was there for an ear recheck, takes the cake. I was a 15 year old who was not sexually active.
      He asked me what my favorite subject was in school, then asked me how old I was, then put his hand on my knee and said I should have a pelvic exam.
      Still makes the hairs on the back of my neck go up, 25 years later.

  11. well, shit doc. sorry for being normal!

    OP, I’m glad that you have moved on from this OB :)

  12. Its not my breasts, its your eyesight, bra cups, and every shirt ever made making them look that way. (I’m down to 2 cup sizes bigger on one side now that we’re weaning. Seriously considerng getting a pack of those inserts to put on the smaller side for upcoming job interviews so I don’t look so lopsided, since I have gotten random comments)

    • You’ve gotten random comments?! JEEZ, people can be rude!

      • An elderly gentleman got onto an elevator once with my husband, my son at a year old and me and said, “Blonde baby. Dark-haired parents.” I responded with, “Yeah, he’s the mailman’s.” *eye roll* Some people think everything is their business and their job to provide commentary.

        OP, I’m sorry this jack-ass did and said that to you. On a side note, the reason my husband and I were together on the elevator with my son is that we were on our pay to the pediatricians and when we go to the doctor’s (pediatrician or GYN) the husband goes with me. Always. I do NO doctor’s visits alone. And this kind of stuff right here is why. I can’t believe this sort of stuff happens. It’s unreal.

  13. “That’s because they’re real, stupid. Who did your wife’s implants?”

  14. The sentiment isn’t at all the same, but this reminds me of a former gyn who was REALLY chatty during the exam and was like, “Has anyone ever told you you have a tilted cervix?” and I was just lying there waiting for her to be DONE with the exam but she was just so freaking casual about chatting it up down there about my cervix!!! Heh.

    • Ahhhhh! I had this happen too. A nurse practitioner told me in one appointment that my cervix was tilted and my labia didn’t match. I had just gotten done telling her I didn’t tan (because at my age I get the tanning lecture). I said “every part of me is the same shade” and while doing the exam she casually said “Actually, your left labia is discolored.” Then came the tilted cervix comment with “Hmm, I don’t feel any tumors. I guess we’ll know when your test results come back!” Nice and bright she said that and left.
      I went home feeling like I had an ugly vagina that was going to kill me.

  15. Do you realize that no woman has perfectly symmetrical breasts? Unless they’ve been surgically augmented, though even then it isn’t for sure. Or maybe you’ve just been so brainwashed by every photo-shopped image in the media and don’t know what a *real* woman looks like?

  16. Ugh.

    This comment is horrible. I guess some people just don’t understand how words effect their patients.

    That said, I wonder if a lot of the “creepy” doctors are really just awkward. Part of a breast exam is to just look at the overall appearance of breasts, in normal posture, with arms above the head, and THEN the woman should lie down for palpation of the breasts. Most doctors who do breast exams don’t do that, though, and I think it’s because they just feel too weird about it to do it right. Our society has said that the breasts and sex organs are basically for sex ONLY and that sex is something to be kept completely private. But really, when you’re all awkward about doing normal exams on women, you just come across as creepy. It would be ideal for our society to realize that sex organs and breasts are just like every other body part, but since that’s not going to happen any time soon, more time needs to be spent by practitioners overcoming their phobias about caring for other people.

    It really seems to me that this doctor was trying to do a breast exam, but instead of just SAYING THAT, he was too nervous and so said “observe closer.” It’s the same reason doctors say “down there” instead of actually referring to the genitalia specifically. It’s silly.

  17. Thank you Dr. Holmes.

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