Your Bra Could be Causing These 3 Serious Health Concerns, New Study Says

A survey shows how a poorly fitting bra goes beyond just bad looks. It could be damaging to your health.

With a whopping 80% (or more) of us reportedly wearing the wrong size bra, a new study reveals other concerns besides just an imperfect fit.

British lingerie brand Pour Moi released the results that showed a bad bra can cause bad posture, back pain and chafing. That could be the reason behind thousands of memes about women joking (or not?) about ripping their bras off at the end of the day.

According to the NY Post, the company surveyed more than 1,000 women and found that 91% of them weren’t getting proper bra fittings, and 10% were wearing bras that were more than 6-years old, which means they’re likely stretched out.

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Twenty-seven percent of the women have never even had a proper bra fitting, and nearly half hadn’t been fitted in more than three years. Experts including myself, recommend getting a fitting yearly due to changes in our bodies that can cause your size to fluctuate (even a weight loss or gain of as little as five pounds can change your size).

The most common issue women reported was their bad-fitting bra rubbing or chafing against their skin, which can cause skin irritations, acne and even fungal infections.

According to the survey, the second and third most reported ‘brablems’ were shoulder indents from straps digging in.

This can happen when the weight of your breasts and gravity are forcing the bra to slide down in the front, causing the band to ride up in the back — pressing straps down into shoulders and leaving marks.

The bra company also released a shocking sketch of a woman it calls ‘Melanie,’ who is wearing a bra that’s too big, causing her to be uncomfortably hunched over — complete with painful-looking red marks from strap indents, bacne and stretch marks.

So, if you’re one of the millions of women likely experiencing these symptoms already, is there anything you can do to correct them?

“Bad posture, we know, can be corrected by standing up straighter and walking straighter, but it’s a constant being aware of it, which most people are not,” explains Kristen Bernockie, MHA, FNP-C, a nurse practitioner practicing in Catskill, New York. “So, for women, a well-fitting bra that forces your shoulders back, is going to help you stand up straighter on your own. And really just being aware of your posture.”

Stretching and applying a hot compress to the area, can also be helpful when dealing with bra-induced back pain, says Bernockie.

And if you’re unsure yet if this applies to you or not? In my book “The Bra Book”, now in its second printing, I outline these tell-tale signs you could be wearing the wrong bra:

  • You have gaping in the cups. This space between the top of the cups and your breast tissue, could mean your bra is too big.
  • Your underwire and/or band in the front is pulling away from your body. Usually this happens when you’re wearing a cup size that’s too small.
  • Your band is riding up in the back. It’s said that 90% of a bra’s support comes from the band, so that band measurement is super important. If it’s not completely horizontal across your back, it’s likely too big. Also, you should only be able to slide two fingers underneath your band in the back. If you can pull the band completely away from your body, it’s too big.
  • The straps are sliding down. The opposite of the aforementioned digging in straps is those that are sliding off, which could mean either that the bra is too big, or it’s been stretched out and it’s time to say sayonara.
  • If the underwire is poking out of the fabric or bent, the cups are crushed, or the fabric seems stretched out, it’s probably time to toss it and look for a new one.

If you want to do a quick test to find out if you’re wearing the right size, check out my video on how to measure yourself in under a minute.

Jené Luciani Sena
Jené Luciani Sena is an accredited journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author, regularly seen on national TV outlets such as Access Daily, Today and Dr Oz. Touted as one of Woman’s World Magazine’s “Ultimate Experts,” she’s a TEDTalk speaker and a busy Mom of 4. Read more
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