DO BRAS PREVENT SAGGY BREASTS? “There is, so far as [The Straight Dope] can discover, zero evidence that bras prevent saggy breasts.” I recommend bralessness. At least don’t let fear of drooping breasts stop you.."I had a corresponding post on Althouse, so there was a comments thread here. The first commenter was Bissage (the dearly missed Bissage):
I’ve always worn briefs instead of boxers, just in case.Then somebody else said: "For older women, the bra offers one benefit. It holds the sagging organ away from the skin beneath it." And I said: "Go braless so you don't develop a place called 'under your breasts.'"
I also have a September 2005 post on this subject (which is close to my heart). It started out talking about the old Maidenform bra ads, and I was criticizing the ones that featured a woman staying home with her kids:
What's the business sense of this? If I'm staying home with kids, that bra is coming off! A bra is for going out into the male-dominated world and achieving. As soon as you cross the home threshold, that bra is off. Right, ladies? What is the lag time for you between when you walk through the door and when you take off the bra? Five minutes, tops? Is it the first, second, or third thing you do when you come home?That brought comments like:
You're kidding, right? No woman with a D-cup or greater --- I think the cutoff is really C, but I'm trying to be conservative --- would make that statement, I am guessing.And:
Take off bra when you come home? Only if you're lucky (and small) it's UNCOMFORTABLE if you're "generously endowed" to go around without a bra. (...yes this is true for C cups too)I think this may only be the case if you have become dependent on the bra instead of keeping up the strength of your ligaments. As I said then:
It's less a matter of size than inner structure. I think there is some evidence that wearing a bra all the time decreases your natural support.And linked to some technical stuff (photos of breasts at the link):
There are lots of studies showing that ligaments and tendons in limbs do atrophy when the limb is immobilized. Bras obviously prevent the the natural slight up-down movement of breasts when we walk, and let shoulders bear the weight of breasts. If breast ligaments behave like limb ligaments, it may be a matter of "use it or lose it".I hate to think that anyone is doing something that's less comfortable because it's supposed to help when it's doing the opposite. Think about your ligaments, ladies.
The only study ever published on the subject of bras and sagging was done in 1991, in Japan. The study suggests that a bra can actually increase breast sagging rather than the opposite. The abstract says (emphasis mine):
'Eleven adult female subjects aged 22-39 years wore a certain brassiere for 3 months while anthropometry and moire fringe photographs on the anterior trunk were taken regularly once a week. After the 3 months, the brassiere was not worn for another 3 months. Then the measurements and photogrammetry were repeated for comparison using superimposed moire configurations. The results are summarized as follows. Regardless of slim or obese trunk, subjects with pendent breasts showed the highest degree of breast form "correction" from wearing the brassiere. In all subjects, after 3 months of brassiere constraint, the underbust circumference was smaller but the chest circumference became enlarged, the distance between the right and left nipples became wider, and the breasts tended to hang down. This change was more marked in obese subjects with pendent breasts. And when this type of subject wore a "well-fitted" brassiere for a long time, her breast form became developed, that is, her breasts hung down more." Ashizawa K, Sugane A, Gunji T Institute of Human Living Sciences, Otsuma Women's University, Tokyo, Japan: Breast Form Changes Resulting From A Certain Brassiere Journal of Hum. Ergol.(Tokyo) 1990 Jun; 19(1):53-62.The unspoken rules of the society may force you to wear a bra to work or to social occasions, but there's no need to wear one for the purpose of preventing sagging. It just won't work. Remember also that breasts will benefit from bra-free time, so it is good to take the bra off whenever you can.
ADDED: "Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity. Instead, it languishes with a bra."