Even the best fitting bras can irritate once in a while; but what do you do when a chronic health condition means they hurt all the time?
I’m a 20 year old with a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. I am in intense pain every day of my life (imagine how it felt the last time you broke a bone and imagine dealing with that everyday). Because of this, bras are incredibly painful for me, I’ve followed your advice and Cheryl’s, and Brastop, and every reputable source I could find to find the perfect fit, but it still hurts so badly that I don’t know what to do anymore.
Do you have any advice on what bras to look for, or how I could make them more comfortable for me? I work in a male dominated industry, and I’m a 38E, so going braless is just not an option.
Thanks for any help you have!
So sorry to hear about your condition: though I don’t have any experience personally I put this question out to my network in the hopes of finding some advice that could help find a supportive solution that causes you less pain than your standard underwired bras, and easy to track down in the States.
One great suggestion was to look for a wireless moulded bra, like the Freya Deco wireless. It’ll give you slightly more structure than a standard soft cup, but without any hard components.
But if that feels too ‘squished’ up front then of course you can try a more standard soft cup bra, like one of Royce’s soft cup bras (which though I haven’t tried, have been highly recommended to me). They don’t tend to give the most structured shape under clothes compared to underwired bras, but it will hold everything in the right place without wires.
As an alternative to standard soft bras, Braless in Brasil recommends Decent Exposures [her review here]. It’s not the most beautiful of bras but she raves about the comfort – plus being able to switch to a different back style may be a welcome respite for your shoulders.
For non-work days where structure is less important, the Ahh Bra was recommended as being a totally soft option: but given its design it may not give you the shape you need or want under clothes.
I don’t know anyone who has tried this, but it’s also probably worth exploring bras with ‘gel encased’ underwires to see if that offers any additional comfort with a more traditional support. Obviously these tend to be created by brands adding in quick fixes for poor fit *ahem Victoria’s Secret ahem*, but in the correct size it may be worth exploring to help with your day-to-day comfort. Plus given your male working environment, it may help you feel confident that you have that additional structure in the cup.
Hopefully one or more of the above will help you – I’ll certainly let you know if I come across any other solutions. But failing this all, another suggestion was to actually carry alternate bras with you in your purse so that you can switch styles if your bra starts to irritate throughout the day. It’s not an ideal solution of course – but it is a plan b if you need it.
Thanks so much for reaching out – I know there’s a lot in here but I really hope some of it can help you. Please do keep me posted and let me know if any of this works!
Love from B4J x
Huge, huge thanks to the very excellent Boosaurus, HS, LS and Braless in Brasil for helping with this post.
Image from makebra.com
Hello I myself have fibromyalgia and still wear a wire bra I would be interested to know who usually fits your bra’s or do you measure yourself, as it may be you are wearing the wrong band and cup. I wouldn’t recommend royce as the sizing its very honest and can be quite tight in the band and too much covering in the cup styles a they have try bestform as Sofia, Bengali, Kasey are made of really soft but very supportive and comfortable bra ‘s and the shape are really good also .the price is also great value for money if you need any more help please leave a reply on here and I will get back to you on getting your measurements correct also as I am a qualified fitter too.
Thanks Helen: will make sure she gets your info x
I have fibromyalgia so know what this lady means regarding the daily pain and fatigue.
Soft fabrics and good construction and support is all equally important, there’s nothing worse than an ill fitting bra that pulls and tugs in the wrong places causing more pain. A bra I recently fell in love with is Freya’s Tartan because the straps are really smooth and comfortable.
If I can help anymore you’re welcome to drop me a line. 🙂
Thanks Becky! Will def pass on your info x
I had a commenter mention the Lilyette keyhole plunge, and a cotton softcup by Comfort Choice, as well as Lunaire as bras she prefers because of sensitivities. She also mentioned sewing felt onto the wires/pressure points.
I don’t have Fibro but I am Celiac and have Hashimoto’s. I’ve gone through rough flares of inflammation and pain from both, and I understand how autoimmune conditions can make finding and wearing a bra (or anything tight) difficult. I am terribly particular, and I must rotate bras daily. I can’t even wear the same style two days in a row, if it’s wired.
A bra I had luck with (as well as the poster mentioned, above) is the Just My Size Ultimate Cotton Comfort. I wore it for years, and if you are a 38E you’re close to being in the size range. It’s inexpensive and can be found at discount stores like WalMart.
I am the commenter. =o) This is a great post & I can vouch for most of these suggestions. The JMS Cotton Comfort is an affordable choice. You won’t get a lot of separation, but the softness may be worth it. Also, the Ahh Bra is comfy, if turned inside out; I find the stitching a bit harsh otherwise.
Because the OP mentions her work environment, I really suggest giving the Lilyette a try. This particular style is quite different in that it has a low gore, so no poking, & the foam wrapped wires are on a par with Wacoal’s BodySuede, but at 1/2 the price. You will get zero bounce, but most importantly, the gentle compression from the very high (about 20%) spandex content is so soothing & comforting if you experience aching or burning pain. I have this bra in a 38DDD (38E) & had planned to find it a new home as I’m now a 36GG. I would be happy to send it to the OP, if she feels it may help her. It’s alright if she’s in the UK. I spent 3 yrs in Norfolk.
A bra with padded underwires (like panache sportsbra for instance) is great for those days where everything hurts, as the wires does not dig in and it feels really comfy on.
I second the Panache underwire sports bra. It is very comfortable with its 3 hooks and gel-encased underwires, and gives a very round shape, much more to my liking than Decent Exposures or the Ahh Bra. I have chronic pain myself, but it is all in my pelvis so bras aren’t as much of a concern for me personally, but I hope I can help.
I’m not sure if this thread is still active and checked but I’ll throw it out there.
I’m a fashion student focusing on lingerie for those who have problems like this. I’m hoping to find a way to crate a supportive bra (I have a big bust myself, I know how much it’s needed!) that’s much softer with new technology to replace components like underwire.
I would really appreciate it if you, or any other sufferers of this condition, could contact me with the specific areas in the bra that cause discomfort to you. And any other information you think could be relevant or useful in helping me create this bra.
Look forward to hearing from you guys
Hey Hannah – do you want to send your contact details to me at firstname.lastname@example.org? I’ll pass them on x
So sorry about the delay, I wasn’t informed of the reply! I will email you know and it’s greatly appreciated 🙂 thanks!
I have the exact same problem! I just wear men’s tank top t-shirts and pin bra cups to it. I also bought Cottonique Women’s Allergen-Free Drawstring Bra. It’s soft, no seams to irritate, you can adjust the drawstring. Even with that, I still can’t wear it all day. Basically I’ve had to adjust my wardrobe so I can go bra-less because it’s just too much pain. One thing you could try is a bra strap extender so it will extend the band of your existing bras. I certainly empathize with you and wish you all the best!
Hi everyone, I’m the person who submitted this to Busts 4 Justice, and I just wanted to thank everyone who commented, your suggestions helped so much. I’m still working my way through trying some of them, but I’ve had a lot of luck with Ahh Bra knock offs and bra extenders. I’ve also noticed through trial and error a few things that make a difference to me personally:
– when it comes to materials, you have to find “the one”. And it’s different for everyone with fibromyalgia. For me, it’s t-shirt soft cotton and satin, and as much as I love frills and lace they leave me more pain at the end of the day.
– Compression vs non-compression. I found that for me at least, there are some days where my aches and pains just feel better when I wear a compressing bra like a minimizer or sports bra, and other days where all I want is the least pressure possible. I found that it’s a good idea to have at least one of each type of bra.
– Wireless bras can be heaven or hell depending on structure. It really comes down to your individual type of pain. For me, I need support, so the wireless bras I tend to favor look exactly like wired bras. They’re very structured, they don’t lift or separate, but they support. However, I have friends that are the exact opposite in the same size range as me, they cannot handle the structure or support offered by these types of bras because very structured bras redistribute the weight of your chest evenly, but for some this puts pressure on “pain points” or points where they are particularly sensitive to pressure. For them, they would rather have something like a loose “yoga bra” that just holds their beasts to their chest without compressing or redistributing weight too much.
– No two sufferers of fibromyalgia will find the same bras and styles comfortable. It is trial and error to find what is best for you, so I highly recommend buying bras from somewhere with free shipping/returns because that will save you a ton of money. Do not, no matter how cute they may be, buy a bra you haven’t tried before if it’s on sale. If it can’t be returned and you don’t know if it will trigger your pain, it’s best not to risk it.
– And lastly, sometimes you just need pretty undies. I spoil myself with my panties and stockings, and when I find a bra I love, I get it in every color I like and find matching panties. It really helps when you’re in constant pain all the time to still know that you’re super cute under your clothes.
And that’s pretty much everything I’ve learned since I asked Busts 4 Justice for help, and I’m so glad that I opened up this dialogue here because I’ve learned much and more and found wonderful friends though being a chronic illness lingerie lover!
Aw Katie – so happy to hear from you again. Hope you’re doing okay xx
I’ve been struggling with the same thing. The waist band of my bra causes so much pain in my back. recently i have been going without a bra and using bra shelf camisoles. Now I realize I need to find an alternative to a bra. I need to wear something for work. I have so much less pain when I don’t wear a bra. After spending 3 weeks in Europe just wearing my tank top under my shirts my back is now screaming from having to wear my bra for two days while at work. it is a sad reality. Thank you to all for the posted info. It has been helpful.