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. Is it best to ditch it altogether?

While some women experience 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 – Oshkosh, 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.” Despite various studies, it has still not been determined where wearing a tight bra causes breast cancer.
  1. Your bra is six months or older: “Ideally, you should be rotating between two to three good-fitting bras,” says 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.

Want to learn about your risk for breast cancer? Take a free online quiz here. 

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  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.

  2. I’ve read about it too! It explained that it was due to blood restrictions.

  3. At 66 I am sick of bras. I only wear one occasionally.
    No wire only slight stretch to hold the girls up depending on the event.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.