Does Wearing a Bra Make the Breasts Sag?

Certainly, bras are important as a way to prevent chafing and pain often caused by excessive movement during brisk activity.
If you're a woman who wears a bra all the time, though, at least part of your reason for investing in the undergarment probably comes from the health benefits that you've heard about: minimizing sagging, improving posture, preventing backaches, and so on. How legitimate are these reasons?

Whatever conventional wisdom of personal experience might bring to the debate, it's important to take the scientific position into account. A French university recently concluded a detailed, long-term study on breast support (

If found that in most cases, supportive garments such as bras did little to help in any way, and often harmed the breasts they were meant to help. Bras, according to, sometimes even promote sagging and back pain.

The Study

Performed at the Univerity of Franche-Comte in Besancon, France, the 15-year study followed 330 women under the age of 35. The intent of the study was to uncover the nature of the contribution that brassieres made to breast health or the health in general.

  Using calipers and slide rules to measure changes to the breasts and the back, the researchers found that in most cases, women who gave up wearing support garments experienced no worsening of breast tone of health. Often, they came by some added perkiness, with an average lift of one-third of an inch.

Why Does It Help To Stop Wearing A Bra?

One of the worst things a bra does to the breasts is hampered circulation by bringing pressure to bear on areas that are meant to be free.

These suspensions muscles around the breasts begin to lose their function and even more importantly, poor circulation results in lower production of collagen, a substance that helps with elasticity and lifts.

Quit When You're Young

Young women are often encouraged to adopt supportive undergarments the moment they begin to show breast growth. This practice can be harmful, as natural stresses are needed to develop the muscles that support the breasts.

Research done at the University Hospital of Wals in Cardiff has found that women approaching menopause tend to benefit from giving up support too, although for different reasons. As many as 40 percents of perimenopausal British women complain of breast pain.

The research found that ill-fitting bras often caused lymph node congestion, a state that interferes with the immune system's ability to function correctly. Cysts are often the result, as is a heightened risk of cancer. Medical anthropologists have found that breast cancer is widespread only among cultures in which brassieres are in popular use.

Researchers warn the public against using the studies'results as their sole reason to make changes to their lifestyle. It's important to experiment with different possibilities. The greater the comfort, the safer the bra is likely to be.