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Is Wearing a Bra Bad for your Health?

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Gerard Tamayo · Updated Dec 30, 2022

Is Wearing a Bra Bad for your Health?

Brassieres, or bras, offer covering and support. This type of undergarment is essential for many around the world. Some believe it prevents sagging, while others may think it’s restrictive. So is wearing a bra bad? Does wearing a bra have any side effects in the long term? Does it cause any medical problems? Read on to learn more.

Is wearing a bra bad? It depends.

Actually, it depends. If you wear a properly fitted bra, then you will likely have no problems. Many studies conclude that wearing a correct size bra can support the breasts and maintain the nipples’ natural perkiness.

Wearing the right bra can also help women with ample bosoms ease any potential back pain problems.

What’s more, the right bra can help prevent future sagging.

But contrary to what many believe, the cups of the bra do not offer much support. It’s actually the straps and clasps of the bra that do the work.

If the bra doesn’t fit very well, you may eventually suffer from chronic back pain and a painful pinched nerve in the neck.

Also, continuously wearing an ill-fitted bra or a bra that is either too small or too big for you can cause some issues in the long run.

What many women do nowadays is to measure their own cup size themselves every single time they buy a bra. That way at least you can steer clear of buying the wrong size bra at least on your end. Tight-fitting fashion bras put more stress on the diaphragm and may interfere with the process of digestion.

The bra’s main purpose

According to The Institute of Osteopathy, there’s proof that larger breast/cup sizes can be a contributing factor to changes in your posture, which eventually may lead to musculoskeletal pain.

The bra’s primary purpose is to support the weight and structure of the breast. However, many women often have a lot of tightness and stiffness localized where the bra strap is placed. Tight-fitting bras can also harshly distress the ribcage, as well as cause back and neck pain.

If bra straps are loose-fitting and the back strap is skin-tight, it may result in an imbalance.

As for sports bras, they can often give a little too much support and prevent the ribcage from functioning appropriately, therefore weakening back muscles and overstressing the breast ligaments.

However, if you do standard exercise it’s vital to have some support or else you risk injuring the internal composition of the breast.

The science behind bras

There is actually no scientific evidence to suggest that if you wear a correctly fitting bra, there are no negative effects on a woman’s health.

If the bra however is not properly fitted, it may lead to pain in the neck area and in the chest muscle area. Even very tight shoulder straps can cause some discomfort in the shoulders as the straps are one of the main support for the breasts, the tension may lead to a permanent groove in the shoulder tissue.

On the issue of breast sagging, for people with fuller breasts, supporting the connective tissue of the breasts by wearing a right fit bra may help reduce the rate of sagging.

wearing a bra bad

Breast disease and bras

According to Dr. Nanda Rajenseesh, Consultant Oncologist and Bariatric Surgeon, “There is no side effect of any type of bras unless they are very tight. This can be very uncomfortable and may cause skin damage.” She also adds, “There is no relationship between breast diseases and the bras you use”

Wearing a right-fit bra may help improve a woman’s posture and prevent back pain. For women who still experience back pain even with a right fit bra, consult your doctor because there might be another underlying health issue.

Learn more about women’s health here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Gerard Tamayo · Updated Dec 30, 2022

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