Shopping for a comfortable and well-fitting bra can be a daunting task that many women choose to neglect. It is no surprise to learn that 80% of them are wearing the wrong size. The problem with this goes farther than just being unsightly. Over time an improperly fitted bra can cause a number of health defects on your body. This can happen with both a bra that is too tight and one that fits too loose.
Am I Wearing the Wrong Size?
The first step towards proper breast health is knowing whether you are wearing the right size or not. Here are the most common signs that you are in the wrong size:
Signs your bra is too loose:
- Straps that don’t stay in place
- Cups that have gaps
Signs your bra is too tight:
- The underwire sits on your breasts
- The straps are digging in
- The front or side of your breast is overflowing out of the cup
Health Issues Caused By An Ill-Fitting Bra
When your bra is not giving your chest the support that it needs, your back, neck, and shoulder muscles are forced to work harder. This can cause strain on your muscles leading to several pain and postural issues.
Women with larger breasts commonly experience back pain when their bra is too loose. Dr. Zuckerman, a board certified plastic surgeon says that “If a bra does not provide proper support and is too loose or too large in size, it can fail to address the effects of gravity on the breasts over time leading to increased ptosis, or sag.”
This can also cause pain in your shoulders as the weight is not being evenly distributed. This can also cause pinched nerves and slouched shoulders and back, giving you a noticeable change in posture. This pain can also travel up through into your neck and on some occasions place enough pressure to cause a headache.
Common rashes and irritations form as you wear a poorly fitted bra over time. Some of the most common issues include contact dermatitis, acne, and general rashes. Acne mechanica is a common condition caused by the restriction and build up of sweat under the bra as it rubs against the skin.
Even fungal infections can occur in this environment because bacteria grow when there is no room for your skin to breathe. Dr. Tania Elliot an Allergist, recommends that you “make sure the fabric is breathable, cotton blends are best and avoid underwire if you have sensitive skin.”
Bruising and scarring can be just as common. Bruising is typically caused by straps that dig into your shoulders causing pressure and pain which will cause a bruise on the skin. Scarring is particularly common on the underside of your breasts from underwires that are exposed which dig in and leave open wounds as they rub against your skin. If left untreated they can turn into long-term scars.
Bras can negatively affect breast health by constricting your lymphatic system. This will inhibit your lymph nodes from functioning properly in filtering foreign subjects and keep your immune system healthy. A tighter fitting bra will also reduce your blood flow. This can cause you to feel short of breath and tingling or numbness in the areas that are tight.
Getting a Proper Fit
Maintaining good breast health includes going for regular fittings. It’s even more convenient now than ever as you can take an online quiz from lingerie companies such as ThirdLove, who provide you with your size results in just 60 seconds from the comfort of your own home. If you find that you just can’t get the right cup and band size combination, you can chat with one of their fit specialists about sister sizing which can make a big difference in finding you the perfect bra for your everyday needs.
It’s important to take care of your health and listen to your body when something seems off. It could be as simple as changing your bras out for a better fit. If your symptoms don’t seem to subside, always check with your doctor no matter how small the issue may seem.
Featured image via Victoria’s Secret