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Breast Pain (Mastalgia)

Breast Pain: Fitting Your Bra

One of the most common reasons for breast pain is wearing a bra that doesn’t fit well. Many women wear a bra that is the wrong size. Wearing a bra that fits you well and has good support can help relieve and prevent breast pain. Some stores that sell bras can help you find a bra that fits you best. You can try wearing a bra without underwire or a sports bra, to see if you have less pain. If the pain wakes you at night, try wearing a sports bra to bed.

Tips for a good-fitting bra

For a bra to support you well, it needs to fit properly. Make sure that your bra is comfortable and that the:

  • back of the bra isn't riding up
  • shoulder straps aren't too tight and dig in
  • nipple line is midway between the shoulder and elbow
  • breasts don’t bulge ​out above the cups or into the armpits
  • underwire lies flat against the body and doesn’t dig in
  • band isn’t too tight and that you can slip a finger comfortably under the band
  • centre of the bra fits close to the breast bone

Measuring your bra size​

Before measuring your bra size, lean forward and let your breasts fall into the bra cups before fastening. Measure your chest (in inches) above the breasts, and under the armpit. Measure next around the nipple line and compare to the first measurement. The difference between the measurements helps you find the cup size:

  • No difference = AA cup
  • + 1 inch = A cup
  • + 2 inches = B cup
  • + 3 inches = C cup
  • + 4 inches = D cup

If this way of measuring doesn’t help you find your cup size, ask for help at a store that sells bras.

Current as of: July 9, 2018

Author: Women’s Health, Alberta Health Services