01 Mar Let the Girls Jiggle
Big Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nurse, or any other formal medical professional, but I am a women with breasts and a mother of 2 daughters with growing breasts. This is not a rational discussion, rather a hypothesis based on emotion. I can’t decide what to do about bras…
I have never, knowingly consumed carcinogens, I eat organically, have no family history, never taken hormones (the pill or HRT), but 2 years ago, I had something removed from my breast. On the spectrum of severity, mine was a blip, but it did cause me to do research among my doctors, friends, and frankly any search engine that would have me.
During my research I read that countries where women don’t wear bras, there is virtually no breast cancer. Now before you flog me like my doctor did about the lack of clinical research or the ability for women in under developed countries to even HAVE breast exams, please know that I already understand all of this, and that I’m not speaking to any of it. I’m only speaking to RISK & REWARD, and what my gut as a women and Mother keeps telling me. So, with that, I just want us to have a conversation: should we allow our breast to roam freely as much as possible? No, not burning our bras, this isn’t a feminist discussion, it’s simply a question of taking a good thing, and having it turn into a over-used habit.
My oldest daughter is beginning to see her own breast buds and I’m finding myself wanting to ‘strap those puppies down’, so they won’t hit her shirt or make her feel self conscience. But, I can’t escape this nagging feeling that bras are constricting, and I should keep her away from the habit of wearing a bra constantly.
Constricting my breasts on a daily basis, including jog bras so tight that I had zero movement was my life’s goal, because I was taught that if your breast jiggled, the skin would stretch and you would end up with sagging breast as you got older. During my breast feeding days I was OBSESSED with keeping them tight as possible, searching and buying dozens of bras that would grow ‘up’ and ‘down’ with my enlarging milk filled breast, God forbid that I had ANY jiggle or lack of support or once I was done breast feeding, I’d have deflated, sagging breasts….yuck. But strapping our breasts constricts their budding milk glands and eventually they become clogged, infected, and ultimately can be linked to the most common type of cancer (Ductal Carcinoma)….I know, get in line…but I can’t help myself. When something sticks into your head, your rational mind can have all of the information of Watson, IBM’s Super Computer, but your gut keeps telling you to run.
Here’s what we ALL agree on:
-Our breasts have milk ducts and these ducts are constantly recycling with cell turn over.
-Multiple research supports that breast feeding reduces the risk for breast cancer.
-Our lymphatic system is no where near the wire from a push up bra which could interfere with drainage of said system.
-Since we began constricting our breast with bras, they don’t jiggle.
-Just like cystic acne, if a milk duct gets clogged, it can fester and become infected, which can compromise the cell turnover.
-Most cases of breast cancer are either genetic, environmental, or just a fluke.
-The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma DCIS (which starts in the lining of the milk ducts).
Here’s what we DON’T agree on:
-That the jiggling that we did when our breast roamed freely, for hundreds of millions of years, helped with the dislodging of the milk ducts and let them clean themselves out more freely. Like shaking mud off your boot, the more movement, the more you may help it dislodge debris.
-That having strapped down breasts has ANY thing to do with clogged ducts, or bad cell division.
-That the reason breast feeding reduces the risk for breast cancer is the relationship to continual ‘cycling’ of breast ducts thru breast feeding which enriches cell turn over within the duct and breast tissue.
-That there is no downside to going braless and wearing natural fiber non-constricting, bras whenever possible. Wearing wired contraptions or extremely tight jog bras not only constricts your breast tissue, but doesn’t let your skin breathe.
My uber accomplished and wicked smart Breast Cancer Surgeon, Dr. Tari King, rattled off every clinical study that has been conducted and the results are overwhelmingly supportive of the No-association theory, and that constricting your breast has NOTHING to do with breast cancer. And while I respect her immensely, I just can’t keep this nagging doubt out of my head. So you are aware of my information overload of data, let me fill you in:
A book came out in 1995 called Dressed to Kill by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer. It opened the can of worms that said women who wore underwire bras all day (12 hours), had a much higher risk of developing breast cancer than non-bra wearing women. Their premise was the Lymph system toxicity build up, while mine is with the clogged milk duct, festering…they both had the ‘constricting your girls is a bad idea’ bottom line.
The American Cancer addressed it straight on by saying there is no relationship and that the underwire in bras don’t impede the lymphatic system at all, and that bodily fluid travels up and not towards the under wire.
There is really no ‘right answer’, only your very own ‘risk & reward’ debate for your and your family. And while I don’t think there is a conspiracy with the ‘bra industry’, I will tell you that I now, wear cotton bras with no under wire when ever I can, and that I allow my breast to jiggle while I run (not a full blown BOUNCE, just not as tight a jog bra), and since my daughter has decided to wait on donning a bra for now, I don’t feel the need to ‘lobby’ for her to do so.
I love that we have choice. We can weigh the information presented, and decide what our gut or our brain tells us. Mine came back to their being ‘no down side’ to seeking out cotton alternative bras and trying to go less than 12 hours a day with a constricting bra. No matter what the outcome, I’m comfortable with my decision.
You get to decide what works for you-
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3… breast feeding research