Breast tenderness has many causes: biopsy, illness, certain medications, and hormonal changes during menstruation and menopause are the main culprits. Breast pain can be cyclical, repeatedly occurring at a specific point in a woman's menstrual cycle, or non-cyclical. Your bra may not be the cause of your breast tenderness or soreness, but it can definitely increase or ease your pain, depending on the type of bra and how well it fits.
Get the Right Fit
No matter how nice a bra is, it will not help you - and may even cause pain - if it fits poorly. Get a professional fitting at a lingerie boutique or department store to make sure you're investing in bras that are the right size. Many stores offer this service free or charge, and you will be able to find a bra that fits right and is comfortable.
Bras can feel constrictive, and many women find that going without a bra reduces discomfort and can feel liberating. Although it may not always be possible or desired to go without a bra all the time, you can occasionally give your body a break by not wearing a bra. Some women prefer the support of a bra, while others prefer to go bra-free, so it is best to do what is the most comfortable for you.
Padding and Underwire
Despite conventional belief, padded bras are not just for increasing the apparent size of your bust. A padded bra can also help reduce movement and reduce impact from any unavoidable movement.
Underwire can also offer support, especially to women with larger breasts. Although there has been some panic and reporting that bras or underwire in bras increases a woman's risk of breast cancer, this is completely unfounded and not true. Therefore, you should continue to choose the style of bra that is the most comfortable for you.
Don't Forget a Sports Bra
A woman should wear a supportive sports bra when she works out, but this is especially true if she is experiencing breast pain. Repeated movements that result from running and exercising can damage the outer tissues of the breast, so it's important to protect them with a sports bra that fits well.
Although there are a lot of beliefs that concern how bras affect the shape of your breasts, most of them have been scientifically unfounded. Wearing a bra with underwire or sleeping in a bra is not going to affect your breast size or shape either positively or negatively.
What matters most when you choose a bra is whether it makes you feel comfortable. Breast pain is caused by hormonal fluctuations, so it can occur during menopause and before the onset of menstruation. However, a well-fitting, supportive, and comfortable bra can help reduce cyclical breast pain. Click on the following link to read more about menopausal breast pain treatments.
- Kramer, S.M. (2007). Fact or Fiction: Underwire Bras Cause Cancer. Scientific American. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-underwire-bras-cause-cancer/
- Rosolowich, V. et al. (2006). Mastalgia. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada, 28(1), 49-71. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16533457