Research is starting to show that wearing under-wire bras can be harmful to your breasts. Here's some tips for maintaining healthy breasts and limiting your under-wire bra use
Still wearing your Under-wire Bra constantly? – You could be harming your health. This year Bella Bodies became a supporter of the National Breast Cancer Foundation due to the number of our friends and family who have been affected by Breast Cancer. One of the biggest problems I have noticed as I age is how tender and soft the skin around my breasts making underwire bra wear a real discomfort. Of course, there are times when I still wear under-wire, but these moments are becoming less and less.
Ok we all love the effect of the Under-wire Bra, they lift and separate, give us a more youthful appeal but as my skin matures, I realise that these little shape lifters are starting to do more damage than good. Under-wire bras became very popular in the 30’s and 40’s via movie stars when Howard Hughes (a film producer and aerospace engineer) had the first push up underwire bra designed for actress Jane Russell then everyone had to have them. It was the first time the boobs were separated and lifted. Although quite uncomfortable they became extremely popular until recently when science is realising that they are not so healthy for the breast tissue and our lymphatic system.
Could underwire bras be contributing to an increased risk of cancer or other benign breast conditions like inflammation and swelling or fibrocystic breasts?
Underwire Bras can be a “Drain” on your Lymphatic System
Some research suggests that underwire bras can possibly be linked to the development of breast cancer. A husband and wife medical anthropologist team, Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, claim in their book, “Dressed To Kill: The Link between Breast Cancer and Bras” that underwire bras impede lymphatic drainage, which could ultimately lead to breast cancer.
The Lymphatic System Works Tirelessly to Defend Our Bodies
The lymphatic system is an extensive drainage network that is a part of the circulatory system. However, I must first briefly discuss blood flow to give you the full picture of how the lymphatic system works.
Blood flows throughout the body in a continuous loop through blood vessels called capillaries. The capillaries deliver oxygen and nutrients that are found in the blood into our cells. The cells use the nutrients and in the process, waste is created. The waste is then moved into the lymphatic system for removal.
The lymph flows within its own system of lymph capillaries and vessels in one direction, which is upward toward the neck. The lymph capillaries collect excess fluid and waste that has been leaked from cells and blood capillaries. The excess waste and fluid are referred to as lymph. The lymph is deposited into the lymph nodes where filtering takes place and harmful organisms are trapped and destroyed with lymphocytes (white blood cells) that are present in the lymph nodes. Lastly, the lymph and the lymphocytes will then travel and be deposited back into the bloodstream.
If the lymph does not flow properly due to restrictions that are possibly caused by a tightly fitting bra, breast health could become compromised in the following ways.
- Fluid can build up and lead to swelling and or lumps in the breast; and
- Toxic waste can accumulate within the lymphatic vessels and cause cells to become abnormal and ultimately lead to breast cancer
So, as it pertains to underwire bras possibly contributing to cancer or other benign breast conditions, it is reasonable to conclude that the possibility does exist. If this drainage system can flow properly, the lymph flows freely and performs its duty. However, if something such as a tightly fitting underwire bra obstructs the natural flow process, it’s logical to conclude that problems can occur within the breast tissue. We dont suggest not wearing underwire bras but maybe limit the time you spend in them a little.
A few reminders for a healthy breast.
- Get fitted professionally by a bra fitter so that the bra is comfortable and the underwire is not pressing too far into your skin.
- Get used to the underwire free look. Is a little more natural and remember if you are heading into middle age that it's virtually impossible or comfortable to lift those girls to where they used to be.
- We have a very supportive Underwire Free bra (our lacy one) and a moderate support our bamboo bras which are just so comfortable you can sleep in them
- Ensure you get your breasts checked regularly and massage your breasts to help promote blood and fluid to your lymph nodes.