A MUM from Horwich is encouraging women to speak more openly about their breasts as it has been revealed that hundreds of women have been left feeling suicidal over a common condition.

In 2014, Laura Peacock, aged 34, spoke to The Bolton News about her struggle with a tuberous breast deformity in a bid to raise awareness of the issue.

But she says more still needs to be done as experts revealed a worrying trend of UK women suffering in silence because they are too embarrassed to seek help.

Tuberous breast deformity, or TBD, is where the chest fails to develop and breasts often stop growing at the ‘bud’ stage. The cause of the condition is unknown.

Laura underwent corrective surgery in 2012, taking her to a 32E cup, having struggled with tuberous breasts since she was 13 years old.

She has gone on to found Support for Women with Congenital Breast Deformity, the UK’s only support group for the condition.

The mum-of-two said: "The women we speak to are typically extremely secretive about their condition.

"They don’t want their friends, or sisters or mums to know about it because society has put them in a position where they don’t feel like they can talk about it at all.

"When I went through this issue myself, I very quickly realised I had no one to turn to. One of the major issues for women with this condition is the physical problems associated with pregnancy.

"Women are under intense pressure to feed their baby naturally, but many with undiagnosed tuberous breasts simply don’t realise they may not physically be able to do so. It’s such an important issue."

Prior to the surgery, Laura struggle to to change in front her then boyfriend Darren and on wedding day mortified the shape of her dress to give her the curvy shape she had desired since she was a teenager.

Despite having two children, who she was unable to breastfeed and felt uncomfortable allowing a midwife to intervene, she only found out she had Tubular Breast Syndrome after she had a breast lump scare in 2009.

A year later she applied for TV show My Naked Secret and, after consultations with a top UK surgeon and a psychologist, she had the breast augmentation she had been dreaming about for more than a decade.

She said: "That was 13 years ago. But from what we’re hearing from sufferers, that scenario is still happening now.

"Much, much more needs to be done to raise awareness, and it needs to start at the top with the health visitors and midwives.

"If we can educate midwives about tuberous breasts we can educate the women who need help most."

Leading UK plastic surgeon Dr Navid Jallali has raised concerns that not enough research is being undertaken into the condition.

Because aesthetic correction requires complex surgery, many women who do seek help simply can’t find a doctor to give them the bosom they crave.

And that, he says, is causing severe psychological issues for patients, as they struggle to form loving relationships - and in some cases even consider taking their own lives.

Dr Jallali, a consultant cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon who has appeared on Channel 5’s Botched Bodies and treats around 40 women with TBD every year, explains: "Tuberous breast deformity is a massive issue in the UK, affecting a great many women.

"But because of a lack of research, and a chronic lack of awareness among some doctors, it’s my view that it’s not being tackled properly.

"And that’s causing patients to suffer in silence.

"It’s not just a case of someone having small breasts and wanting a larger volume cup size. With TBD, the shape is often very uneven between the breasts. Of course, the disease runs a spectrum of mild to very severe.

"And in severe cases, the breast stopped growing at a very early stage, never developing beyond a small bud.

"For most patients it’s unsightly at best, and a source of extreme anguish at worst.

"I’ve seen many patients who arrive at the clinic painfully shy, lacking in confidence and withdrawn. These are the women who’ve struggled to form relationships because of their breasts.

"In rare circumstances, patients have also related their suicidal thoughts to me. To me, this is unacceptable and more needs to be done to combat TBD head on."

Laura added: "Women don’t talk about it enough to make it a problem. It’s then not perceived as a problem for the health system, it’s seen as just a ‘cosmetic’ issue rather than a proper medical condition, and there’s no impetus to carry out proper research.

"But I want to get to the point where we’re never going to have women who are let down when trying to breastfeed or pressured into something they’re not able to do."