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Bras, Are They Bad For You?

Blog Forums Women’s Health Bras, Are They Bad For You?


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    I think bras are ridiculous contraptions, however, is there any real evidence that they are unhealthy? Please provide links if you have any to articles.


    Just in case you are wondering why I (a male) ask this question, keep in mind that I have a couple of daughters.


    Their are so many different kinds of bras. I personally don’t like under-wire, which gives you the most shape but it digs into your chest and is super uncomfortable. When I was real skinny I just didn’t wear bras and was able to get away with it, and it was nice. But their is a level of self appointed femininity that goes along with wearing a bra for a lot of women. All in all I don’t think they are any more unhealthy than most of the shit available today, which isn’t saying much but whatever. Besides, a good bra can do wonders for your silhouette.


    I’ve also heard that underwire bras in particular are problematic. I’d love to know more about why specifically.

    Hannah Ransom

    I’ve heard a couple of things. One being lymph flow, which makes sense. The other had to do with incidences in woman who wore bras vs. didn’t wear bras, which could very well be based on other factors, especially since I assume they got their info from other cultures where they don’t wear bras and have totally different lifestyles.

    I think it’s prudent to make sure that if you are wearing a bra it fits correctly, rather than being very tight. And forgo underwire bras as much as possible.


    The bra studies are badly confounded by the fact that most women are so badly fitted. For example, in the US bras do not seem to exist beyond DDD cup, so large chested women fanangle themselves into the most ill fitting contraptions. In Europe, bras go all the way up to an L cup and bras up to a H cup are widely available at most lingerie stores. When women’s bra sizes are too small in the cup (which is generally the issue) and too big in the back, they ride up and dig in in all the wrong places. The underwireS also dig in, as do the straps. Plus, underwires sit on breast tissue where they are not supposed to sit.

    I am a big follower of busty girls blogs so am very passionate about this subject. My life has been changed by WEARING the correctly sized bras for sure. I know it sounds crazy, but when your boobs are the largest part of your body a bra really does make all the Difference to comfort and appearance. Plus, without a good bra I could never run for a bus or enjoy any type of exercise. It would hurt like a mo-fo.


    Oops, caps was on and off throughout the above post. Didn’t mean to shout anything. :)


    I hate bras! I wish it were socially acceptable to go out without one. Before having babies I did it a lot, but now I feel like it would be too obvious. I wear minimally supportive bras when I leave the house, it seems good enough. I’m sure bras are bad for lymph flow and also affect the muscle development in that area..

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 10 months ago by RebeccaC.

    A properly fitting bra will not block the lymph nodes though, as underwires should *not* sit on breast tissue ever. Also, a properly fitting bra honestly will not cause pain. If a bra causes pain the fit is off. And the US is definitely the worst when it comes to putting women into the wrong size bras. Victoria Secrets for example acts like only 32-38 and A-D sizes exist, when backs actually go from 24-52 (maybe even 56) and as high as an L cup size! So no wonder women end up in the wrong size and in pain.

    Women should not be forced to wear bras if they don’t want to, in the same way no one should be forced to wear any item of clothing. However, I can guarantee that if a bra hurts it is the wrong size. I have converted my friends from wearing the wrong bras and all report that bras no longer hurt. They just thought that they were meant to hurt. Nope, they are not.

    And badly fitting bras will cause health issues. Everything from pain to rashes to more serious health problems.

    The Real Amy

    If you are concerned about lymph flow, there are also other ways to address it once the bra comes off at night. Dry brushing is one way to keep lymph moving, and I actually do breast massage every day, which has been shown to enhance breast health (and potentially help keep them full and perky!).


    No bra, I do not like, I wear only when I have to .


    After 3.5 years of breastfeeding I’m finally getting back to where I can just wear a tank and it’s not super obvious. I was more into bras before my kids, but now I go without as much as possible. I don’t know if a study will ever be able to prove a correllation one way or the other, but it makes sense to me that the most traditional way is probably healthier. In some cultures they were bound somewhat, or corseted, or allowed to be free, but underwire is obviously new and I’m not sure that I trust it. I wear them sometimes to mid-formal occasions, but otherwise stick to wireless or nursing tanks, or just tanks with a shelf. And I’m a D-DD cup, so in the past this would have been unthinkable to me.


    I tend to stick to tanks for the most part unless I’m wearing a low cut top and want cleavage. I had a lift done a few years ago so I don’t really need a bra anymore – it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done!


    I think this article by Katy Bowman is very moderate in its take on bras. She talks about bra-free living kind of like the barefoot movement; that you should gradually let your tissues adapt to the loads of support vs no support. I agree with The Real Amy that lymph and breast massage is beneficial, but especially if you are hunched over a computer everyday and get adhesion spots due to the fascia getting locked in one position that can impede circulation of blood and lymph.

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 10 months ago by tangytam.
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