Healthy Living

Bras Make Breasts 'Saggier,' French Doctor Says Women Better Off Bra-less

Bras Make Breasts 'Saggier,' French Doctor Says Women Better Of Not Wearing One
After recruiting 330 women for bra study, doctor advises some women to stop wearing one or risk breast health. Creative Commons

Women have been wearing undergarments to support their breasts for years — as far back as ancient Greece. From corsets and backless brassieres to the modern elastic bra, these items have been indespensable parts of most women's wardrobe. But new research claims that bras are anything but uplifting.

The study incited an international debate when a French professor performed a 15-year research on the evolution of the bra-less breast.

Jean-Denis Rouillon, a professor at University of Besançon in France, authored a study stating that women are better off not wearing bras. They are scientifically unnecessary, and, in fact, could be hazardous to breast health, leading to sagging breasts and increased back pain.

The study involved 330 females between the ages 18 and 35, out of which 50 were asked to not wear bras. They all volunteered to have their anatomies measured and examined for any changes to orientation using a slide rule and caliper.  

"Medically, physiologically, anatomically — breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity, Rouillon told France Info radio. "On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra."

Specifically, he showed that without a bra, the nipple climbs back up by 7 mm in a year, while the breast overall get firmer and stretch marks begin to fade.  He said that by the time a woman hits 25 while wearing the bra, the breasts begins to sag. 

One 28-year-old woman identified as "Capucine" participated in Rouillon's study and said she hasn't worn a bra for two years and could attest to the results.

"There are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better, and I have less back pain," Capucine told France Info.

Back pain has been long associated with heavier breasts and the incorrect bra support. Proper posture is also essential to back health, whether going bra-less or wearing on the undergarment.

Rouillon expressed his belief that culture is at fault for making women believe a bra is required. Nonetheless, he recommends some women to not throw away their bras over this finding. 

"It would be of no benefit to a 45-year-old mother to stop wearing a bra," he said.

The modern bra was patented to Mary Phelps Jacob, a socialite who created an undergarment for one of her evening gowns. Its popularity arose during World War I when women decided they needed a device that would be practical to wear in the workforce. 

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