How ill-fitting bras can cause health problems

As you are reading this, lift your arms above your head. Does your bra ride up as you do so? Or does it instead feel like it is cutting into your skin? If either of these are the case, you are wearing a poorly fitting bra. Research has shown that ill-fitting bras can actually be responsible for a number of health problems, both direct and indirect. Up to 50% of women have reported breast pain that stems from a lack of breast support, which is unsurprising as studies have shown that 80% of women wear poorly fitting bras. Badly fitting bras can also result in stretch marks, neck, back and shoulder pain, poor posture, and sore, chafed skin.

A bra that isn’t fitted properly can also have longer-term consequences, even leaving permanent indentations in the shoulders from over-tight straps. Less directly, they can impact on women’s physical fitness by causing a reluctance to exercise due to the discomfort – a supportive sports bra is a simple solution to help this. With the majority of women wearing incorrectly sized bras, there are several tips we can follow to start doing what’s best for our breasts:

  • Put your hands in the air! If any breast tissue slips out from under the bottom of the cup or the bra rides up your body, the cup size may be too small and your bra band may be too large. A properly fitting bra should stay in place when you raise your arms above your head.
  • If the underwire sits away from your skin, leaving a gap, this means your bra’s cup size is too small. If your flesh is bulging over the top or sides, this is another indicator that your bra is too small.
  • We would wholeheartedly recommend getting a professional bra fitting if you have not had one for a number of years. Bra fittings are easy to access for free in a high street shop and a properly, professionally fitted bra could transform your wellbeing. Be sure to wear a thin, non-padded bra to a fitting to get an accurate measurement.

If you’ve noticed that your bra is uncomfortable, and you are curious to discover the difference between your actual bra size and the size of the bra you’re wearing, find out how to measure your bra size at home here.

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