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Do Underwire Bras Hurt Your Boobs?

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Many women seem to have a love/hate relationship with their bras. They love the support and shape that a bra provides, but hate the feelings of discomfort that accompany some bra styles! Few bra types are more contentious than the underwire bra. Some women love em; some women won’t touch them with a 10-foot pole. Today we’re going to tackle the tough question: do underwire bras hurt your boobs?

Your Underwires Should Never Hurt Your Boobs!
If you take nothing else away from this, know that your underwires should never, ever hurt your boobs! If they do, something is wrong. Either the bra you’re wearing isn’t the right size; or the style isn’t the right fit for your body; or there’s something else going on. A good underwire bra that is properly fitted should never cause discomfort. Further, though – feelings of discomfort aside – let us dispel the myth right now that underwire bras can cause actual damage or lasting harm to your boobs.

We’ll get into breast cancer later, as that’s a separate question, but over the summer there was a study done in Europe that determined that wearing a bra can cause the ligaments of the chest to atrophy; causing sagging. That particular study was a very small sample, and it wasn’t done in a scientific way to draw real conclusions. Medical science has determined, however, that bouncing breasts can cause the ligaments that support the breasts to stretch, which means that not wearing a supportive bra that prevents bounce can cause damage to your breasts.

Proper Bra Fit and Sizing is Key
The key to avoiding underwire pain is to make sure that your bras are properly fitted and you’re wearing the proper size. Take a few minutes to look at our bra fit pages, go through the points of fit and really understand how your bra should feel and look on you. If your bra is properly sized, the underwire should be lying flat against your chest wall, curving around your breasts. Underwires should never be lying on your breast tissue – if they are, it can cause discomfort and potentially medical issues. Also, you should try to find an underwire that fits your natural breast tissue distribution – Freya’s underwires, for example, tend to be wider, while some other brands have underwires that are narrower or more curved.

Beware of Underwire Problem Areas
Underwires do have potential problem areas: under the arms, and how they lie against the body. In the center, underwires should lie flat against your chest along the center gore, between your breasts. The underwire should curve around your breasts and lie against your chest wall all the way around, and it should come up the side of your body where your breast tissue meets the chest wall.

Some women have problems with underwires that come up too high on the sides and dig into the armpits. This is an issue for women with shorter torsos. If you have problems with underwires poking into your armpits, look for bra styles with shorter bands. Also, if the underwire is too far forward on the side of your breasts – if it’s lying against the breast tissue instead of where the breast tissue meets the chest wall – you may have discomfort. Look for underwire bra styles that fit you properly.

Do Underwire Bras Cause Breast Cancer?
Simply put: underwire bras do not cause cancer. There was a study carried out by Sidney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer that concluded that the odds of getting breast cancer increased the more women wore bras. If you look into this study in more detail, you’ll see that the study wasn’t carried out in a scientific way, and the conclusion isn’t valid. The American Cancer Society has confirmed that underwire bras DO NOT cause breast cancer – so don’t let this fallacious study make you worry unnecessarily!

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