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New research about breast pain during exercise

It has been only relatively recently that many topics in women’s health have been seriously addressed. More research studies traditionally revolved around men, but now, rather dramatically, women’s health issues are catching up.

Breast pain is one such issue. Researchers at the Research Group in Breast Health at the University of Portsmouth (England) have been interested in helping women who suffer breast pain during exercise.

In one of their earlier studies, they focused on breast motion during running, and they found that womens’ breasts moved “an average of 10 cm in 3 directions (up and down, side to side and forwards and backwards) during running, which can often lead to breast pain.”

All our body tissues are in motion during exercise, but the female breasts are unique in that, even in women with small breasts, these tissues have weight but lack natural anatomic support, so the breasts tend to move independently from the rest of the body.

At the 2012 London marathon, these same researchers, lead by Dr. Nicola Brown, surveyed 1285 female runners to find how widespread was breast pain in these runners, what made it worse, and the women did to try to minimize the diiscomfort.

The researchers surveyed a wide cross-secion of women; not only the elite performers, and they published their findings in the March 2013 British Journal of Sports Medicine. The incidence of breast pain during running was correlated with breast size: over 50% women with larger cup sizes reported pain, and as did 25% of those with small breasts.

Women who were mothers reported pain more frequently, probably because pregnancy and breast-feeding had altered the breast tissues, and hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle also led to more discomfort. Breast pain frequently altered how the women worked out—about 25% of the women at times either skipped exercise or trained at a lower intensity level because of discomfort.

Dr. Brown noted that a well-fitting sports bra reduces breast pain in about 85% of women, but many of these women—probably more knowledgeable than average about such matters—are not using the optimal type of sports bra for their needs.

The Research Group in Breast Health has published an online guide to help women find the best sports bra for their individual needs. If you are a women experiencing discomfort, hopefully this will give you some tips. In the long run, with further research and better materials and more scientific construction, women should have more and better options in the coming years!

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)