London, July 25 : Women who don't wear the right type of bra could be damaging their breasts without even realizing it, health experts have warned.
The breast biomechanics research team at the University of Portsmouth said that ignorance or embarrassment might be the reason why women choose the wrong type of support.
The researchers from the Hampshire University's Department of Sports Science said that wearing the wrong type of bra could lead to fragile ligaments becoming stretched.
The research team has tested about 50 bra designs on hundreds of women during the past three years.
Dr Joanna Scurr's research has shown that boobs move up to 21cm (8.26 inches) during exercise and they move up and down, in and out and from side to side.
Most bras are designed to limit just vertical movement.
"Many women have strong preferences for certain styles of bra and won't buy anything else," The Sun quoted Wendy Hedger, a researcher on Dr Scurr's team, as saying.
"They won't even look at anything that doesn't look like the sort of bra they are used to wearing.
"In sports bras, for example, many women won't buy a bra that resembles their everyday bra and does up at the back - they think if it can't be pulled over their heads like a crop top, then it's not a real sports bra.
"But this is not true and many sports bras do up at the back in the same way as a traditional bra and do a very good job of supporting women.
"And some women cause breast pain or discomfort by not buying the right-sized bra.
"There's a social stigma about certain sizes. Many women don't want to be seen as too small or too big and buy a bra that doesn't fit well in order to be what they consider to be a normal size.
"Many other women are unaware that they are wearing a badly-fitting bra or unknowingly wear the wrong bra size because they are routinely being sold ill-fitting bras.
"Some women forget that their shape and size change and they might have to go through several changes in bra size over their lifetime, especially after breastfeeding and the menopause," Hedger added.