Over 80 per cent of women wear the wrong bra size. Not only can this cause unsightly lines, but it can also result in all kinds of surprising health problems. Dr. Melissa Lem stopped runs down the ABCs of bra health, and why you want to make sure you're wearing the right size.
Band Too Tight: Problems With Sleep
Surprisingly, wearing a bra with a band that's too tight can interfere with your circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, a Japanese study from 2000 showed that women had night-time melatonin (sleep hormone) levels that were 55 per cent lower during a 24-hr period when they wore tight foundation garments!
Cups Too Big: Neck and Back Pain
Lack of support for your breast tissue makes it droop and tilt forward more, putting stress on your trapezius muscles, which sit atop your shoulders. Persistent strain of this muscle can lead to tightening and spasm, which can literally be a pain in the neck and back.
Synthetic Fibres: Rashes and Breakouts
Non-breathable fibres sitting close to your skin every day can trap sweat, fungus and bacteria. This can lead to skin irritation; yeast infections and the dreaded back-ne. So make sure to wash your bras frequently and choose natural-fibre undergarments as much as possible
Straps Too Short or Narrow: Nerve Damage
This is a frequently unidentified cause of a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome, which causes weakness, burning and tingling in your arms and hands. Ill-fitting straps can put extra pressure on a nerve bundle called the brachial plexus, especially in women with large breasts who hunch their shoulders forward. If you’re at risk for this condition, opt for bras with wider, more supportive straps, consider going strapless, and watch your posture.
Wearing a Sports Bra (or Any Bra At All) : Sagging
A 15-year study of over 300 young women in France showed that those who stopped wearing bras actually developed firmer, perkier breasts. The theory is that when breasts are exposed to gravity their underlying muscle tissue develops more, providing better lift over the long run. So go bra-less as often as you can, or if you’re more well-endowed, choose progressively less constrictive styles to gradually build up your own support
The Bottom Line
Get properly fitted by an expert, or better yet embrace the 70s and go without a bra whenever possible. Your entire body will thank you!