Health Considerations for Buying a New Bra

Know your Size?

We all know it is important to wear the correct-size bra. When we buy a new bra we consider things like the shape, coverage, support and comfort, but do we ever think of how the bra can affect our health? Here is some food for thought.


There are studies that show wearing too tight-fitting bras can adversely affect our breathing by restricting movement of the ribcage and thorax. When a bra is too tight, you don’t get adequate lung expansion when you inhale, which means you don’t get enough oxygen when breathing and you run a net balance of oxygen deficiency. When this is the case for most of the day, you operate at a low level of oxygen for extended periods of time. This negatively affects your health. We all know how important oxygen is to all our bodily functions. Both lung expansion and relaxation movements are very important. Wearing a tight bra may create opportunities for developing an abdominal breathing technique. This is a non-optimal breathing pattern. Optimal breathing makes use of all the different lobes of the lungs, and expansion happens through the whole of the ribcage.


Posture is another big element of bra health. Wearing a bra that does not give good support can put more strain on muscles, causing tension and discomfort. This can aggravate other symptoms like headaches, muscle aches and pains. When the bra does not give support, your upper back might appear more rounded. Your shoulders can hunch and your chin poke more forward into a poor posture. When the body adopts this position the back muscles bear the added strain and get weaker over time. The neck muscles are forced to carry the weight of our head in this position. The head is quite heavy, therefore the neck muscles work very hard and get quite uncomfortable. Good posture is a key part of our health, so look after your posture by doing corrective exercises, have good workstation ergonomics, and choose a good supportive bra.


Another crucial health aspect is digestion. Restrictive bras can cause indigestion and increase the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. If the bra is tight, the restriction in the spine and ribcage can adversely affect your neural structures originating from this part of the spine. These neural structures supply the organs and thoracic area of the body and when they are restricted the neural input to these organs and muscles is less than optimal. This can affect the functioning of these organs and muscles and diminish their effectiveness.


Let us not forget about our skin – the biggest organ in the body. The bra is in close contact with the skin for extended periods of time. Do make sure the fabric of your bra takes care of your skin, and continues to do so over time. First thing to note here is the possibility of fungal infection. Two elements that contribute to this are the hygiene of the type of material and the ability to be able to clean it properly. This will prevent the accumulation of any bacteria and fungus. Another consideration is friction. Friction through wear also causes discomfort, burns and irritation. Choose carefully how you wash your bra; softeners can accumulate in the fabric, preventing it from cleaning properly and, ultimately, from breathing.

Simply, consider these with your next bra purchase.  Care for yourself, care for your body.