"You're free!" That's how an article for Bustle — about what happens when you go braless — begins. "When you take it all off, your boobs are free to do whatever they wish — swing, bounce, jiggle, and, most importantly, breathe," it continues.
As a woman, you have almost certainly breathed a sigh of relief when, at the end of a long day, you unclasp your bra, toss it in a drawer and don a comfy pajama top. Or maybe, like some women, you've spent most of the pandemic braless.
Colleen Murphy, an editor and writer for Health, went braless for more than a year — ever since the pandemic began. After doing so, she worried it wasn't a good choice for her health. She remembered cautionary tales she had heard about going braless, for example, "wearing a bra prevents your breasts from sagging, not wearing a bra actually trains your breasts to not need one, there is a link between wearing a bra and breast cancer risk."
So, she set out to find whether these tales held any truth — and learned from the experts. Murphy cites Dr. Deanna Attai, who says, "The short answer is that it's not dangerous to go without a bra." But what about breasts sagging or bigger-breasted women who suffer from back pain?
Keep reading to hear what she found out about those issues.
According to Dr. Attai, your breasts will sag whether or not you wear a bra. She further explains that breasts sag as a result of aging. Donna Murphy, RN, agrees. In an article for Verywell Family, she lists these proven causes for sagging breasts — gravity, the size of your breasts, your BMI, smoking, genetics and pregnancy.
Dr. Jordan Jacobs, a professor of plastic surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, does say that if you have larger breasts, your breasts will have more of a tendency to sag. "So, if you are someone with large breasts who wants to possibly prevent some degree of sagging, you might not want to go braless for months on end," he concludes.
Training Your Breasts?
One myth Murphy had heard was that not wearing a bra would make your breasts more perky by training your breast muscles not to need any support. Dr. Sabrina Sahni — a family medicine physician, as well as a women's health expert at Mayo Clinic — told Health that if you want to "train" any muscles in your breast area, you can work on your pectoral muscles by doing chest presses and pushups.
Dr. Sahni puts it succinctly: "There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that wearing a bra or not wearing a bra will impact your overall breast cancer risk." Unfortunately, no one knows exactly why some women get cancer and others don't. According to Mayo Clinic, "Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer." Clearly, choosing not to wear a bra has no impact on whether or not you will get breast cancer.
What if you want to go braless, but you are a larger-breasted woman who experiences back pain when you do? Are there any alternatives to bras for you? Dr. Sahni suggests wearing a sports bra, while other options include wearing bralettes, wire-free bras or lounge bras.