Are Underwire Bras Harmful? Health, Comfort, and Your Wellbeing

Bras are meant to provide support for women. Therefore, it is an essential undergarment and some women even pay a huge price to get the best quality. But are underwire bras harmful? There is a myth that is circulating that suggests they can cause breast cancer. If you are concerned, then you’ve come to the right place. You will discover the facts behind these myths and more.


The Theory That Bras Can Cause Breast Cancer Theory

Can wearing a bra cause breast cancer? For decades, women have battled with this myth and some even accept this as truth. But, as Breastcancer.org would say, this is a common fear with no evidence. The organization goes on to state that there is lack of scientific evidence that would support this rumor.

The myth about bras causing breast cancer started in 1995 through a book written by a medical anthropologist team, Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer. In their book Dressed to Kill, they claimed that wearing tight-fitting bras on a daily basis puts women at higher risk of developing breast cancer (versus those who do not wear bras or don’t wear them too often). According to them, tight-fitting bras such as underwire bras inhibit the lymphatic drainage that causes toxins to be trapped in the breast tissue. These toxins result in the formation of breast cancer.

However, critics and scientists are quick to debunk this claim. They said that such a claim was not supported by enough scientific evidence. They also cited the duo’s failure to take into account variables such as known risk factors in most women that made them more likely to develop breast cancer (versus it actually being caused by wearing bras).

are underwire bras harmful to your health

Are Underwire Bras Harmful?

Even though the scientific community has stepped up to debunk the claims of the book, there were a lot of women who still questioned if there is some truth to those claims at all. This explains why underwire or wired bras have received a lot of criticism in the industry. It is also the reason why many women advocate against the use of wired bras.

Chances are, most women have at least one underwire bra in their closet. While it does not necessarily cause breast cancer (as discussed above), there are other health hazards that you need to know about.

  • Skin Problems – The presence of a wire beneath the cups of the bra could pose a wide range of skin problems. Among these problems are skin irritation, skin infection, contact dermatitis, and cuts or punctures on the skin (once the wire is exposed). Over time, the wires puncture the fabric and it can become exposed and come into contact with the skin.
  • Headaches and Neck Pain – Aside from skin problems, the use of underwire bras is also linked to headaches and neck pain. Women need to wear bras for support. Unfortunately, it might not offer the adequate amount of support you need resulting in pains in the neck and headaches.
  • Blocked milk ducts – Nursing mothers need to be particularly wary when wearing wired bras. One of the potential hazards associated with this type of bra is that it can impede the flow of milk resulting in milk pooling in your breasts. This is not only painful, but it can also cause your milk supply to drop. Mothers are also at risk of becoming ill and will require antibiotics to cure themselves. It is recommended that you stick to comfortable and non-constrictive bras while nursing.

Other Myths About Underwire Bras

Are you scared to buy underwire bras for fear that it could cause breast cancer and many other health complications? Worry no more. This is a breakdown of the common myths associated with it and the facts behind them for your guidance.


Myth 1: It makes you more prone to breast cancer.

This particular myth needs to be discussed further because it is so commonly talked about that many accept it as fact. Louise Brinton, the chief of the hormonal and reproductive epidemiology branch of the National Cancer Institute, has stated wearing bras do not directly contribute to the risk of breast cancer.

Brinton spent 30 years studying this field and claims that family history and gene mutations are what can increase a woman’s risk of acquiring this type of cancer. However, breastfeeding and exercise help lower this type of risk.

Breastcancer.org also published an article stating that underwire bras “do not cause breast cancer.” There is only one scientific study in existence that has looked into the link between bras and breast cancer. However, the study was not able to confirm that a link does in fact exist.


Myth 2: Underwire bras cause headaches.

This is false – although there is an explanation to this. While underwire bras do not directly cause headaches, it can be a result of wearing an ill-fitting bra. You do not need to give up wearing wired bras if you find them highly supportive. You just need to find the right fit so you can be relieved of the pain.


Myth 3: You shouldn’t sleep wearing bras.

Wrong. Again, there is no scientific evidence that points to the dangers of wearing bras while sleeping. According to surgical oncologist Amber Guth, routine use of bras do not cause lymphatic blockage. If it does, then there should be other manifestations like fluid accumulation in the breast or edema (swelling of the feet).

are underwire bras bad for you

Are Underwire Bras Harmful: What is the Best Alternative?

Underwire bras are not harmful if you are worried about breast cancer. This is the primary health concern that women face when it comes to choosing bras, especially those who prefer to wear underwire bras for extra support. However, it is not devoid of health hazards altogether. There are also certain risks involved, and you need to be aware of them so you can find ways to alleviate any issues.

The best way to correct the issues associated with wearing underwire bras is to find the correct size. This will ensure that you get the adequate amount of support you need and that you can be comfortable when wearing your bra.

Underwire bras are not the only option you have available if you need support. Seamless bras are more than just ideal if you want a smooth profile underneath your clothes - they are highly supportive, too. View the Coobie seamless bra range here.

Seamless bras are made of fabric that feels soft and luxurious to your skin. It has a good stretch but is firm so they are perfect for all sizes and shapes. Make sure to look for those with molded cups as they give better support than those without.


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