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Finding A Bra That Fits
What Size Do You Need?
Why Do We Wear Bras, Anyway?
Getting the support you need, when you need it.

By Julie Kostecky
InteliHealth Staff Writer

Bra straps can dig into your skin, leaving unattractive and sometimes painful indentations. The bra band can inch up your back, annoying you and causing discomfort. Many women may be familiar with the annoyances of an ill-fitting bra, but did you also know that there can be health consequences to wearing the wrong size? Here are just a few:

  • Pain in the upper back, neck, shoulders and arms, or headaches
  • Breast pain during exercise
  • Skin abrasions or infections underneath the breast in full-breasted women

A well-fitting brassiere can provide the necessary support to take tension off the breasts and other parts of your body, alleviating or preventing these potential problems.

If you would like to determine the correct bra size for you, just follow these few simple steps. You also may want to be professionally fit — it's usually free; most department stores have salespeople who can do this for you.

Also, remember that your breast size often changes over time. So whatever your bra size is now, it probably won't be the same size you'll wear for the rest of your life. Because pregnancy, menopause, and weight gain or loss can change the size and shape of your breasts, you should re-measure your breast size at least every two years.


How Can You Tell You're Wearing The Wrong Size?

There are several easily identifiable signs that the bra you're wearing does not fit:

  • You can see breast tissue being pushed out over the top of the cups. Unless you are wearing a demi bra, all of your breast tissue should be contained within the cup of the bra. You should try a bra with a larger cup.

  • The bra band rides up in the back. Try a bra with a smaller band if you're having this problem. To gauge whether the band size is correct, you should be able to place two fingers under the bra in the back. If you can fit more than two fingers under the band, the bra is too large.

  • The center of the bra in the front or the underwire in an underwire bra does not lie flat against your breast bone. The center of the bra should lie against your skin, and the cup should contain all of your breast tissue. Try a bra with a larger cup.

  • The cups are wrinkled. Stretchy fabrics mold to the shape of the breast and can sometimes provide a better fit without sacrificing support. Try a bra with a smaller cup size.

Last updated February 26, 2008




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