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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Breast Health: How to Find a Bra That Fits and is the Right Bra for You

Find a bra that fits for every function or occasion- image by 

Hey y'all!

Today's post is for the ladies. I want to teach you how to find a great bra. The best bra for you will fit, it will be the right cup size, and it will breathe. I'm going to teach you the steps for a bra fitting, and some common mistakes women make when buying a bra.

Back in 1995, a book was published called Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras. The main hypothesis of the book was that the underwire in bras restricted the lymph nodes under women's arms and chest, possibly leading to breast cancer. Since then, both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have stated that wearing bras do not increase the risk of or cause breast cancer. However, the National Institute of Health released a 1991 study published in the European Journal of Cancer stating that bra cup size may be one risk factor for breast cancer. Women with larger breasts may be at higher risk for breast cancer because of obesity and the lifestyle associated with it. Women of childbearing age who had smaller breasts and did not wear bras had half the incidence of breast cancer than women who were much larger and did wear bras. The study showed that it was the smaller women's healthy lifestyle, and not the bras, that made the difference.

The truth is, most women today do have larger breasts than women in the past did. A lot of women think they have a much smaller bra size than they actually do. They are wearing bras that are too small in the cup and too loose in the band. Here are the steps to find a bra that fits properly:

  • Step 1: Find your band size. Most women wear bras that are too loose. When trying on bras, the band is supposed to fit quite snugly right under the breasts. The bra will actually feel tight around the rib cage. You should be able to slip two fingers under the bra band when it is fastened. If the bra rides up when you raise your arms over your head, you need to get a smaller band size, e.g., get a 34 instead of a 36 or a 38. However, you do not want a bra so tight it cuts into your flesh.
  • Step 2: Adjust the bra straps correctly. You may have one shoulder that is lower than the other one from holding babies on one hip or carrying heavy purses on one side. If you need to, get bras that have a hook on the straps in the back to keep the straps from falling down. 
  • Step 3: Find your cup size. Forget the tape measure. Try different bras on. Most women are really surprised to find they have a much bigger cup size than they thought they have. What you are looking for is a bra cup big enough to support the entire breast without spilling out over the top. If the bra you are trying on gives you "double boob" by creasing the top part of your breasts, or you think you might "fall out" of the bra when you bend over, the cup size is too small. When I was in college, the average cup size was a B. Now it is a D, and many women are much larger than that. Forget the "buy a smaller cup size so my boobs look bigger" idea. Women actually look better and bigger in bras that fit well.
  • Step 4: Check the underwire. It should press on your rib cage in front, but should never dig into your breasts on the sides. Some people advocate not wearing metal underwire bras because of concerns about heavy metal toxicity. So far there are no peer-reviewed, double-blind scientific studies to support this claim. However, the TSA website states that underwire bras can set off metal detectors in airports. Women are being subjected to humiliating and invasive breast pat-down searches or requested to take their bras off and then pass braless through metal detectors at airports. There are companies that manufacture bras with plastic underwire. Alternatively, consider wearing one or two sports bras while flying.
  • Step 5; Finally, check the front band. It should rest on your chest. If there is a gap between your breast bone and the front band, the cup size is too small.
I think it is also important to consider a bra's function, or what a woman is going to be doing while wearing a  bra. If she will be at work, I suggest a full coverage cotton bra. Maidenform makes a great breathable cotton bra for every day wear for around $15-$20 (USD 2012) each. Almost every woman who works out needs a sports bra. Nike has several styles, depending on the kind of workout planned. Finally, for special occasions, millions of women swear by Victoria Secret. Their sizes now go up to 40 DD.

Do any of you women have styles or brands of bras you swear by? Please leave a comment!

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