Research suggests that more than 80% of women wear bras in a size that do not offer the proper support. Wearing the wrong bra can be even more problematic if you’ve experienced breast cancer surgery and now wear an ill-fitting mastectomy bra.
Whether you’ve chosen to wear breast prosthetics or undergo breast reconstruction surgery, wearing the right fitting bra is essential to your comfort and wellbeing. It is also beneficial to your health overall. Properly supporting your breasts with the correct size bra allows you to maintain proper posture, optimal circulation, and even boost your confidence.
So, how can you tell if you are wearing the wrong mastectomy bra size? Here are seven signs to alert you to the need to make a change. While many of these signs are common with any bra type, others are specific to post-mastectomy bras.
1. Bottom Band Rides Up
The bra band provides most of the bra’s support, so it is crucial to wear a size that fits firmly without digging in or slipping. If you’ve noticed the back of your bra creeping upward as you walk or stand up, it can mean that the band size is too big, and you need to find a more snug fit.
Stand sideways in front of your mirror to determine if your band is even on both sides. For the best fit and support, this band needs to be horizontal even across your back, even when you swing your arms. If you notice it riding up your back, then it is a sign you are wearing the wrong size bra. Find a bra with a smaller size band.
2. Ill-Fitting Shoulder Straps
Bra straps are usually adjustable, so you can often correct any shoulder slippage or digging easily. However, ill-fitting straps are also a sign you might be wearing the wrong bra size.
Straps are designed to provide additional support for your breasts, so they aren’t supporting your breasts or breast forms adequately when they are slipping. If adjusting them isn’t helping, your bra may have bigger cups than you need, or the band is bigger than your torso. Another reason for slipping is a loss of elasticity in the fabric from wear and washing methods, which means it is time to replace it.
If the straps are digging into the top of your shoulders, the bra fit is too small. This is often an issue for larger cup sizes and can lead to a permanent indentation in your shoulders, which can cause postural issues. Try loosening them to see if it makes a difference. If you need to keep them tight to hold your prosthesis in place, consider going down a bra size for a better fit.
3. Breast Prosthesis Rides Up
If you are wearing any type of breast prosthesis after your mastectomy, there are bras specially made to support you. These mastectomy bras are designed to keep breast forms in place, usually providing pockets in the interior fabric for insertion.
Breast prosthesis can ride up when you go about your daily routine, and this is a clear sign that you are wearing the wrong size mastectomy bra. In these instances, the band is too tight and causes upward pressure, causing your prosthesis to ride up.
Consider going up a band size or two. You can also take the guesswork out of finding the right size bra by meeting with our certified bra fitters at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe.
4. Breasts Spill Out at Top or Sides
Do you notice that your breasts, or forms, spill out over the top of your bra or its sides? Or maybe they are spilling out from the bottom of the cups. This signifies that your cup’s size is too small and not providing adequate space to contain the complete volume of breast tissue or your breast forms.
For optimal support, you want your breast forms, including any remaining breast tissue, to be encased comfortably but snugly inside the cups, not spilling out anywhere.
5. Bulging Skin in Back
What is often referred to as “back fat” actually may be another sign of wearing an ill-fitting bra. A bra that fits too tightly can squeeze skin out, creating a bulging look on your back. These lumps can be removed by going up a band size on your bra.
6. Baggy or Wrinkly Cups
Non-padded cups that are baggy or wrinkly are a sign of a poor fit. Bras, including mastectomy designed bras, are intended to hold the breasts or breast forms in each cup without creating a gap towards the top. Consider trying a bra with a smaller cup size for a more accurate fit.
If you find you have a gap at the top of the cups, you may decide you’re okay with it as it feels comfortable. However, this may be more noticeable under your clothes, which can draw attention and even cause you to lose some of your well-earned new confidence post-surgery.
7. Back or Neck Pain
Back and neck pain can occur for many reasons. However, when most medical reasons have been ruled out, you may find relief by switching to a larger size bra. Tight-fitting straps create a situation where you round your shoulders more often, causing bad posture, which can cause back and neck pain.
Find the Perfect Fitting Mastectomy Bra
You already have many things to deal with following breast cancer surgery. Choosing a properly fitting mastectomy bra doesn’t have to be one of them. Our certified fitters at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe know just what to look for and the right questions to ask to ensure you have the perfect fitting bra for each stage of your recovery. Call us at (954) 978-8287 today to schedule your in-person or virtual fitting.