About two months after surgery, women who have had a mastectomy can see a bra fitter to be evaluated for a prosthesis and specialty bras. The professional fitter's goal is to find bras that make you feel comfortable and confident.
Most of the time, they succeed. However, some women change size or shape after their fitting, which causes their bras to no longer fit. How do you know if your mastectomy bra is not fitting properly? Keep an eye out for these six signs.
1. Your Prosthesis Rides Up
When your bra fits properly, your prosthesis should stay in place all day. If the prosthesis seems to ride up throughout the day or when you move in certain ways, then your bra does not fit as well as it should. The band may be too tight, which puts upward pressure on the prosthesis.
This happens a lot for women who lose weight around their time of surgery and then put the weight back on in the year after surgery. If fastening your bra strap on the looser set of hooks does not work, then you need a larger band size.
2. Your Bra Slides Up When You Raise Your Arms
Your bra should stay in place when you raise your arms. If the whole bra rides up, then you are probably wearing too small of a cup size. This happens sometimes in women who have one prosthesis and one natural breast.
The natural breast may change size due to natural fluctuations in weight - leading to the need for a larger cup size. To keep your look balanced, your fitter may recommend a larger prosthesis and a bra with a larger cup size.
3. Your Back Hurts
There are many possible causes of back pain. But if you have investigated possible causes like poor posture and injuries to no avail, then your bra might be to blame.
Straps that are too tight can cause you to unknowingly curl your shoulders and round your back - making you sore throughout the day. Loosening your straps may help, but you may also need to invest in a slightly smaller bra so you don't need to keep the straps so tight to hold your prosthesis in place.
4. You Don't Look Symmetrical
A properly fitted mastectomy bra should make you look completely natural under clothing. If you look in the mirror and one breast seems larger, higher, or lower than the other, then your bra is not doing its job. You're also wearing the wrong bra if you can see wrinkles in the material or bulges of skin through your shirt.
5. You Have Gaping Cups
Any bra, mastectomy or otherwise, should fit closely around your breast - without creating a big gap at the top of the cup. If either cup has empty space at the top of it, then you are wearing too large of a cup size. This happens more often with a natural breast than with a prosthesis.
If you've lost weight, your breast may no longer fill up the cup, and you may need a smaller cup size and a smaller prosthesis to match. Gaping may not cause discomfort, but it does affect the way your bra looks under clothing, which may make you self-conscious.
6. Your Straps Slide Down
If you are constantly having to reach down and pull up your bra straps, then your bra does not fit. Many women convince themselves that this is just something they need to deal with post-mastectomy. However, it is actually a sign that either your cups are too big, the band is too large, or your bra has lost its elasticity and needs to be replaced.
If you have experienced any of the bra struggles discussed above, make an appointment for a professional fitting at The Next Step. We'll help you find a mastectomy bra that truly fits, making you feel confident, comfortable, and classy.