Poorly fitting bras may be more than just uncomfortable, as recent research suggests it could cause serious health problems.
Seemingly unrelated conditions, like skin rashes, tendonitis and indigestion are linked to ill-fitting bras, especially for women with larger breasts.
And ill-fitting bras seem to be a problem for many, as it is estimated that four in five women wear the wrong size as they underestimate their rib cage width and overestimate their cup size.
Lorna Mills, a chiropractor, said, “Women come into my clinic on a regular basis showing rounding shoulders, curves in the back, indigestion due to the diaphragm and lungs being restricted, marks from straps and underwires, dents in the shoulders: all signs of an ill-fitting bra.”
She said the problem she sees most is women with too big of cups for their breast size.
“This then means the straps are too big so they are continually tightened, which then pulls the shoulders and neck down, curving the spine and creating tension and discomfort. The underwire can creep up because of straps that are too tight and pressure builds around the stomach and lower esophagus. Tissues that end up being pushed and pulled in unnatural directions.”
One woman, Shirley Brailey, is an example of the effects a bra can have if it does not fit right.
“For years, I have suffered from a range of complaints which, after speaking to specialists, I now realize are largely a consequence of wearing bras that never properly supported me. I have suffered from hiatus hernia, heartburn, IBS, and indigestion that I can pinpoint as starting when I first started wearing underwired bras,” she said. “I have indents from the straps that have even affected how my clavicle bone ‘sticks up.’”
Brailey also suffered from tension headaches and neck pain, as well as tendonitis in her shoulders and elbows.
A consultant osteopath, Richard Moore, said he has been able to link many bodily issues with poorly fitting bras.
“On many occasions I have been able to link women’s back and neck complaints directly to badly fitted bras that not only offer limited to no support but create visible problems in posture, resulting in pain and tension,” he said.