It’s time to get real about what bras really do for our breasts rather than support them.
As a long-time lover of cute, sexy, and supportive bras, I’ve recently discovered that bras aren’t doing much for us—and are perhaps even harming us—outside of covering our nipples, keeping our girls in uniform shape, and looking sexy during sexy time.
The question as to whether or not bras raise our risk for breast cancer isn’t a new one. Studies done in the late 70s through the 90s and beyond show an increased risk for breast cancer with wearing a bra. Although conventional bras weren’t in the making until the 1900s, the truth is that trying to find a way to support breasts could date back to ancient times.
Let’s take a look at the research and you can decide for yourself whether or not wearing a bra is something you want to continue doing.
The Conventional Bra Heats Your Girls—But Not in a Good Way
Studies have indicated that there could be a connection with women across different cultures who experienced breast cancer—this common factor is the temperature of the breasts. When breasts are in heavy, tight, or binding fabric, their temperature is increased. This increased breast temperature is associated with breast cancer.
Women with heavier and larger breasts tend to wear bras with more constricting—a.k.a hot and heavy, but not in the sexy way—material, which is thought to increase their risk for breast cancer. Cooler breasts are healthier breasts, according to this study—and women with smaller breasts who wore less constricting material had lower rates of breast cancer.
This is interesting because it’s been known for some time that higher temperatures (think hot tubs, laptops, and tight underwear) decrease sperm count and increase the risk of testicular cancer for men. Many urologists advocate for a cooler temperature on the testes as a result of this.
So… why do they get to wear loose undies but we choose to wear tight bras?
They Cause Sagging?!
Don’t get me wrong—it’s not just the tight bras that are under fire in this article. Research also shows that wearing a bra—especially among larger-breasted women—can actually cause your breasts to sag even more. How on earth does this happen?!
So here’s the deal. Wearing a bra doesn’t make your muscles stronger. In fact, it’s quite the opposite—wearing a bra, especially as the breasts are developing during puberty, can hinder the development of the pectoral muscles. What these means for you is that your muscles can be underdeveloped, which doesn’t allow your body to naturally and properly support your breasts, because the bra has done it for you.
Of course there are many great exercises you can do to strengthen these pectoral muscles, but it won’t do much if you’re still wearing that bra most of the time. While this doesn’t have much to do with breast cancer, between the overheating and sagging, bras are looking less sexy than ever these days.
Lymph Node Health
Let’s get back to the cancer research. So, the interesting book “Dressed to Kill” published in 1995 claims that bras increase our risk of breast cancer because they put pressure on our delicate lymph nodes (particularly underwire bras) and prevent the lymph nodes from detoxifying themselves from the pressure. Because the toxins are trapped, cancer is more likely.
This book has been highly controversial and is rumored by some to not be supported by proper evidence and many sites, including our very own American Cancer Society, go so far to say that there is absolutely no research that says that wearing a bra causes cancer. Um, yeah? Then why have I wasted my time writing this article based on credible studies? Good job, guys.
Although their research may be seen as controversial by some, their statistics are staggering: they claim that wearing a bra 24/7 gets you a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer, while at 12 hours a day gets you 1 out of 7. The risk decreases the less time you wear a bra per day.
Whether or not you decide to wear a bra is a personal choice that shouldn’t be influenced by societal norms. Many women (including myself) are choosing to go bra-free as a result of the studies referenced in this article and many more studies not cited here.
For bra alternatives, you can wear camisoles, comfortable (not tight-fitting) sports bras, and even the very popular bralettes, which tend to be cute and comfortable. If you do choose to continue wearing a bra, try to limit the time you wear it. To work and back—then take it off, girl!