Wearing the wrong bra size is not only unpleasant, but it can also cause a wide range of health problems. Studies have shown that lack of breast support can easily lead to breast pain, which is reported by at least 50% of women. An ill-fitted bra that does not provide the right support can also lead to breast skin damage – generally seen as stretch marks, which are caused by stretching the skin beyond its recovery point.
Ill-fitted bras have also been associated with back, neck, and shoulder pain, bad posture, chafing, and rubbing, leading to skin abrasions.
We’ve also witnessed ill-fitting bras that caused permanent changes to the body posture, such as deep grooves in the shoulder caused by constant pressure from the bra shoulder straps. Wrong-fitting bras have also been linked with a strong desire for breast reduction surgery. And given that 8% of women still wear an ill-fitting bra, this is potentially a significant problem.
How to Choose a Healthy Bra?
Look for the Healthiest Bra Materials
As you know, bras may vary widely from lacy push-up models, sexy, to plain Jane cotton white. Here are a few guidelines to consider when choosing a bra:
• Go for a bra made with breathable (and if possible organic) fabric.
• Organic bamboo and cotton are good choices.
• Watch out for nickel closures or latex straps, which can be extremely irritating to those who are sensitive to these materials.
Choosing a breathable fabric will taper away moisture and keep the chest area comfortable and cool. As you know, our bodies are meant to eliminate toxins in sweat, therefore trapping that all inside a sweaty bra is not just unhealthy, but uncomfortable as well. Some have even suggested that tight undergarments can be one of the contributing causes to cancer as it impedes the body’s natural cooling mechanism.
For instance, one case study of a 34- year-old woman discovered that her constraining or ill-fitting bra most likely caused her Mondor’s disease. Such rare disease appears when a vein just under the chest or breast tissue becomes inflamed. Scientists suspected that girdles and tight-fitting bras are the primary reason.
Dump the Underwire …Maybe
Yes, you can get cheap bras online and never have a problem with your back or neck again, but how you choose those bras designs and materials matter more than you might think.
As we’ve previously mentioned, several studies have indicated, and some experts agree that classic bras that contain metal underwire could be a leading cause of breast health problems. On the other hand, some stubbornly disagree with this evidence. Those who already opted for bras without underwire feel that they are even more comfortable without it. Cheap or tight underwire digging into the chest can also lead to skin irritation, neck and shoulder tension, and even headaches.
A regular underwire bra isn’t meant to work without the added support; therefore, simply removing the bra’s underwire can lead to an ill-fitting result. Many bra designs are meant to hold the breast shape without metal or plastic running through the bottom.
The Perfect-Fitting Bra
A staggering number of women are living their day-to-day routines in poorly fitting bras. This can be due to numerous reasons, however, isn’t too complicated to remedy. What to bear in mind when fitting a bra?
• The band in the bra has to be easily snug, but not restricting. When sliding around, it means you will need a tighter band.
• When the bra is leaving red marks or the skin is swollen, it is too tight then.
• Your breast should not bulge out of the cups on the top or sides.
• If you have trouble finding the perfect bra, then fitting with a professional can be helpful.
Consider Your Stage in Life
Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause are all life-changing experiences for a woman as well for their breasts. All these stages are periods of intense hormonal fluctuation when the breasts change their size.
For a woman, a bra that is flexible and has a stretchy fabric, it can help you accommodate these often-rapid changes. A flexible bra will also provide you with more freedom of movement, which is exactly what you need for a healthy lymphatic flow and detox.
Unlike our vascular system, where the heart works as the pump, the lymphatic system relies on physical movement to flow correctly. Therefore, a little movement in the bra is actually a good thing.
The Healthiest Bra for Activity
Women involved in jostling sportive activities such as horseback riding, or running are generally more comfortable with firmer support. In this case, a bra should still contain a breathable and flexible material. One study found that women running in sports wearing a wide, vertical strap stayed even more comfortable than their cross-backed peers. With that said, in a similar survey of small-breasted women, the vertical shoulder straps had more chances to slide down, and they were more relaxed with cross straps.
Concluding Thoughts on Bra Health
Opting for a no-bra option or at least taking it off whenever you feel the need (like at night), is the healthiest alternative for you. Having said that, women who still want or need a bra for different reasons can find plenty of healthier options out there. A well-fitting bra with breathable, flexible, natural materials is a must.
Unfortunately, we have not found a lot of bra types to fit the bill, but we keep hoping that more companies will start to stress the importance of breast health when making them.
No matter the size or shape of your breast, the most important thing to consider when choosing a bra is your health and comfort. To make sure you make the right choice, try and read about various bras designs and functions to find the one that’s not only comfortable but healthy as well.
Written by Barbara McGee