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Debunking Bra Myths: Wearing a Bra isn’t Medically Necessary

In several recent posts, we’ve been looking at persistent bra myths and whether they have any basis in fact. One article about “Why Women Wear Bras” states that “…wearing a bra… has no medical necessity whatsoever.” This is a quote taken verbatim from a book written by Susan M. Love, M.D. called “Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book.” If you do a little digging, you find that Susan M. Love is a reputable surgeon, and has actually founded the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation to help support breast cancer research. Dr. Love is a reputable and well-known doctor in the field of breast cancer research, and her book has been lauded as the “Bible of breast care” by the New York Times.

But this excerpt from Dr. Love’s book doesn’t tell the whole story. Again, this is an example of someone twisting the words of a reputable source to state something that isn’t true, and lend credence to the “myth” that wearing a bra isn’t necessary.

Bras, Sagging and Gravity

In her book, Dr. Susan Love talks about how sagging is inevitable. Gravity eventually wins, and the breasts will sag at some point. Bras are only a temporary stop-gap against sagging. So while bras aren’t medically necessary in the sense that they can’t prevent sagging altogether, they can help negate sagging for a long time. And Dr. Love would maintain that sagging is a natural thing that occurs in the life of the breast, so there is no medical necessity to prevent sagging at all.

However, discomfort due to heavy breasts not having the support they need, and discomfort caused by the breasts bouncing around during exercise, represent a good medical argument to wear bras to help negate this pain and discomfort. In fact, we explored in yesterday’s post that the Cooper’s Ligament can stretch and suffer strain without proper support, which would imply a darn good medical argument for wearing a bra.

Taking Words Out of Context

The article quoting Susan Love’s sentence that implies there is no medical necessity for wearing a bra takes this sentence out of context. The sentence refers to the medical necessity to wear a bra to prevent sagging. As we’ve explored, Dr. Love believes that sagging is inevitable so there’s no medical necessity to prevent it. But this doesn’t take into account the women who wear medical bras.

Many women find mastectomy bras essential during and after treatment for breast cancer. Mastectomy bras are designed to be more comfortable for women dealing with post-surgical tenderness and discomfort, and can also support prosthetics for women who feel self-conscious about a post-mastectomy bust line. While prosthetics may not be medically necessary, a mastectomy bra or other medical bra provides many benefits for women undergoing medical procedures.

Quoting Reputable and Non-Reputable Sources Simultaneously

In the same article quoting Dr. Susan Love’s book, these anti-bra proponents site the so-called “Harvard medical study” that discusses the link between breast cancer and wearing a bra. The same non-existant link from the book “Dressed to Kill” that we debunked in last week’s blog post. It’s clear that the authors of these anti-bra articles aren’t focused on accuracy or researching their sources. They’ll twist facts to support their positions, whether or not they’re valid.

Be skeptical of popular bra myths; especially ones posted verbatim from site to site. Find out about the source before you take a myth as fact. The best thing you can do for your breasts is to become educated about them, and then you’ll easily be able to distinguish fact from fiction.

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