I have a love-hate relationship with bras. Sometimes I can feel sexy with the right bra and during exercise I really do need one. But sometimes they really are uncomfortable. Especially when the proverbial sparrows are falling off the roof outside. And now that I’ve been working from home more often lately, I find myself in sweatpants and T-shirt more often. Without a bra. But we’re slowly moving towards a time when I’m expected to be at the office more often, so I’ll start wearing a bra more often as well. But why? It’s much more comfortable without a bra. Or will I develop premature teabags if I don’t support them sufficiently? Time, then, to do some empirical research on the pros and cons of the bra.
What medical science says
There is no reason to wear a bra for your health, unless you have just had surgery on your breasts. So if you don’t want to wear one, there is nothing against it – medically speaking.
In 2013, a major scientific study was published on the health benefits of bras. After following several women for 15 years, it was found that women who wore no bra actually benefited. For every bra-less year, the nipples would elevator 7mm! These women could breathe more freely and had more supportive tissue and stronger chest muscles. Strong pectoral muscles cause your breasts to be lifted. So: hit the gym and train those pectoral muscles!
The underwires in a bra keep your pectoral muscles from having to work to support your boobies. Consequence: your pectoral muscles become flabby, which is why you will get saggy breasts. Furthermore, it is almost inevitable that your breasts will droop. As you get older, your skin loses its elasticity. And if you’ve fed and number of children, that doesn’t help you either. Gravity does the rest. Eventually, your breasts are going to sag #FactOfLife
The study concludes that medically and anatomically there is no reason to wear a bra. If you wear a bra at all, it has only cosmetic benefits, the researchers say.
For your back then, right?
But what about when your cupsize is way past C-level? Then you are continuously carrying two huge weights with you. That must be bad for your back, right? This too is based on a misconception. Yet experts say that wearing a bra does not help improve your posture or reduce back pain. In fact, the wrong bra can lead to painful shoulders in women with large breasts because the straps of their bra cut into the skin.
The good news: you don’t get breast cancer from a bra
For years there has been a strong rumor that wearing an (underwire) bra can lead to breast cancer. On social media you sometimes come across messages that claim this and there is even a book that describes this in detail. The Dutch UMC Utrecht looked into whether this is fact or fable and concludes that there is no scientific or clinical evidence for the claims. Don’t be fooled, lady!
70% of breast owners wear the wrong bra!
If you have back, neck, or shoulder pain, it could be because you are wearing the wrong bra. 1 in 4 women have never had their breast size measured. Or they only look at the cup size. They also assume that year after year they still have the same size bra. As a result, almost three quarters of all women wear the wrong size bra!
Your bra is not supposed to be uncomfortable and certainly not supposed to hurt. Maybe a bra without underwire is better for you. Have your measurements taken at least once a year in a good lingerie store. Believe me, they don’t find that weird at all there.
A bra that is too tight can cause your entire body’s blood circulation to be disrupted! It’s like using a tight belt to pinch off your blood vessels. Not wearing a bra in that case is better than a too-tight bra. Your blood flow improves, waste products are disposed of better, and you feel more energetic as a result.
So there is no medical reason to wear a bra. But don’t throw all your bras in the trash right away. If you still want to keep your breasts looking young, fresh and fruity, bras come in handy. Especially push-up breast tape and bras can make sure your girls get the temporary elevator they deserve.
The benefits of a bra
OK, you don’t need them (for your health), but bras aren’t completely useless either. The benefits of a good bra are:
- Not only your breasts get elevated; so does your self-confidence. A good bra supports your breasts and therefore make you look younger. With the right bra you get a more beautiful silhouette.
- A bra with a good ‘padding’ also makes your nipples less visible or even not visible at all. There is a time to show them and there is a time when those hard nipples are better left hidden for a while.
- While exercising, proper support for your breasts is a must. Wear a good sports bra if you plan to run or jump.
In short, every woman is different. Whether you want to wear a bra or not is up to you. Make sure you wear the right size and remember that there are different bras for different occasions.
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