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Wearing The Wrong Bra Can "Damage" Breasts — So What?

Illustration for article titled Wearing The Wrong Bra Can Damage Breasts — So What?

Pretty much every year, a magazine, newspaper or TV news show will do the "you're probably wearing the wrong bra size" story. Women shop, all is solved. But! A newsflash from the UK: Wearing the wrong bra could damage your breasts, researchers say. A smattering of articles are using scare tactics about a new study: Scientists at the University of Portsmouth claim that wearing the wrong type of bra can lead to ligaments becoming irreparably stretched. Up to 95% of women are thought to be at risk — because "they are ignorant or embarrassed about their true bra size."


The head of this study, Dr. Joanna Scurr, tested 50 bra designs on hundreds of women over the last three years. She believes the speed at which breasts move could be the key to preventing breast pain (duh). The Daily Mail has pictures of the high-tech testing process: A woman in a sports bra on a treadmill is hooked up to a computer; a chart shows body movement and nipple movement. But what's not in any of these articles is why a woman should care about damaged breasts.

I'm no bra-burner. Lord knows I need all the (double D) support I can get. And certainly for sports and exercise, it feels better when the girls don't bounce around. But for eons, women lived without bras. (Without shirts, even.) Nipples hung down because that's what they're supposed to do. They're for spawn, not for pointing into the air in Playboy pictorials. But seriously: Besides discomfort from not wearing the right size bra — in which case you don't need a study, you just need a shopping trip — what is the "damage" we're supposed to get worked up about? Sagginess? Is drooping a medical condition now? (Oh, right, there is a surgical procedure for it, so it must be!)


Clearly, it's important to wear the right size. But it's confusing why Dr. Joanna Scurr doesn't elaborate on the "damage" caused and whether the effects have an impact on womens' health. We may not want our boobs to be "stretched," but is the consequence purely cosmetic? (And, as an aside: Do any of the women selling us bras these days seem to be wearing their correct size?)

'Wrong Bras' Can Damage Breasts [BBC]
Women's Breasts Damaged By Wearing Wrong Bra [Telegraph]
The Hi-Tech Machine That Reveals Nine Out Of Ten Women Could Be Damaging Their Breasts By Wearing The Wrong Bra [Daily Mail]
Wrong Bra Can Damage Boobs [The Sun]

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Improperly fitted bras can also cause neck and shoulder issues, even if your boobs aren't particularly large. There's a balance between the straps over your shoulders and the band around your chest that needs to be right or else you can actually help along knots in your muscles, especially in your neck. I have lots of muscular problems (many left over from my days as a gymnast and enhanced by my now-generally-lazy lifestyle), and getting refitted for bras actually helped more than I expected it to.

Of course, none of that has to do with my actual breasts. Which, as naturally large big-C's, are doin' just fine on the perky front...