How your bra can hurt you

How your bra can hurt you

You spend hours in a bra each day, yet many women could be wearing the wrong size.

While the braless movement is gaining even more momentum, with some women experiencing health benefits like breathing easier and having less back pain, going sans brassiere is not right for everybody.

Lindsay Locklar, a certified nurse midwife at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh, Wis., shares some signs that your current relationship with your bra needs to end:

  1. The straps dig into your shoulders: “The straps should never bear the full weight of your breasts,” Locklar says. “That burden falls on the band. Your straps should be able to shift within an inch on either side without moving the bra itself.” If you have indentations and definitive marks on your shoulders after you remove your bra, your straps are too tight.
  1. You’re bulging out of the cups, or there’s a cup gap: Not all bra cups are designed the same from bra style to bra style, even if they’re the same size. Bra cup shapes vary for each bra design, so when you’re bra shopping, be sure to try a variety of styles. Also, if you’re jiggling a lot, that’s a telltale sign you need a new bra design.
  1. Your band is too tight or too lose: “This is the biggest issue with bras in many cases, because the band is responsible for 90% of the support a bra gives,” Locklar says. “Your band should fit snugly without being uncomfortable.” Essentially, your band should be so comfortable that you forget you’re even wearing a bra. Helpful tip:  When you buy a bra, make sure you’re buying a bra that fits this criteria while being on the loosest hook. Your band should also be perfectly horizontal from front to back. “Many women’s bra bands ride up in the back,” Locklar says. “If this happens, you’re definitely wearing the wrong size.” Perhaps the biggest reason to reevaluate your band tightness? Studies show a tight bra is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  1. Your bra is six months or older: “Ideally, you should be rotating between two to three good-fitting bras,” said Locklar.“But just like anything else, there is a lifespan to bras.” Even if your bra fit you perfectly at one point, if you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s time to toss it.

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One Comment

  1. I read the link about the study linking wearing “tight” bras to breast cancer. Have the results been duplicated? It seems that the link to breast cancer was more about wearing the same bra longer hours (i.e. to bed). The study authors never explained the reason why breast cancer occurs more frequently among tight bra wearers. Still sounds suspect to me.

About the Author

Brianna Wunsch
Brianna Wunsch

Brianna Wunsch, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator for Advocate Aurora Health with a BA in public affairs from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In her free time, Brianna enjoys living an active lifestyle through biking, hiking and working out at the gym, but even more than that, she especially loves spending quality time with her two cats (Arthur and Loki), son and husband.