Prev Next

The post that will make thirteen-year-old boys everywhere snicker.

By Alice Bradley

Guess who’s not writing about Britney? That would be me! I think the topic’s been covered extensively enough, wouldn’t you? I bet Christopher Hitchens has a book coming out on her VMA appearance. Wait for it.
Instead, let’s talk about other people’s lady parts. Namely, yours. That’s right, women, I’m looking at you. If you’re like me, you wear bras. You might be wearing a (sequined) bra right now. And, much like me, you’re gyrating in front of a puzzled audience. But I digress. The point I wanted to make is that if you have breasts, and you like to exercise, your sports bra is not doing its job.
I’m not saying this because I’ve been watching you via multiple hidden cameras. Not at all! Don’t look up at that corner, by the window—there’s nothing to see. No, I’m saying this because a study done in the UK has shown that no matter what your bra size, you need more and better support than the current design of sports bras can provide.
Most sports bras, you see, are designed to impede the up-and-down motion that we generally associate with exercise and the unsupported chest. But researchers at the University of Portsmouth studied breasts in motion, and discovered that breasts also move from side to side and in and out, as well as up and down. (Ow.) And when a woman jogs or runs, breast movement resembles a figure-eight pattern. (I said OW.) Breasts move as much during a slow jog as they do at top speed. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re an AA or an FF (or higher)—the level of discomfort can be just as high. Which leads to not exercising. Or exercising while clutching your chest and wincing. And then loading up on Advil, after the fact.
So: sports bras suck. But until sports-bra science catches up, what are you supposed to do with this knowledge? Find something called an “encapsulation” bra, say the experts. Encapsulation bras have separate cups and can hinder breast movement more efficiently than the usual compression style, which just squashes your girls down. Until now it was thought that the encapsulation style was only necessary for the bigger girls, so they’re a bit harder to find for the tinier-chested among us. And these kinds of bras aren’t generally described as encapsulation-style in catalogs, probably because it would take up too much space on the page. So do your research, ladies!
Moving on to the next female concern: namely, that itching and burning sensation down there. Guess what? It might not be a yeast infection. So step away from the Monistat.
Researchers (researchers! What would we do without them? Am I right?) studied 150 women who arrived at their clinic complaining of yeast infections. It turned out that only one quarter of them actually had yeast infections. In the other cases, conditions such as bacterial infections, inflammation, dryness, and sexually transmitted diseases were to blame. Of course, some patients suffered Spangled Hot-Pant Syndrome: a rare condition occuring when performers suffocated their feminine parts while simultaneously disappointing the nation.
With over-the-counter yeast remedies available, it’s tempting to head to your drugstore rather than your doctor, but you could be making a mistake. Mistreating a condition can make symptoms worse, says Dr. Susan Hoffstetter, a researcher at St. Louis University School of Medicine. “If you treat yourself and it never goes away, you shouldn’t continue to treat yourself.”
I think we’ve all learned a little something today, don’t you?

Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

icon icon
chat bubble icon


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I TOTALLY agree with encapsulation. Since I found the perfect bra, I thought I would share.
Moving Comfort makes THE BEST BRAS EVER. Hands down fab for the money. And I don’t even work for them — promise. Just a satisfied customer.


We’re learning something all the time and it’s all so frightening. Who said learning was a good thing?
I’ll never forget how “Our Bodies, Ourselves” said that if you have a yeast infection, you smell like baking bread. So what I want to know is: Did this 25% smell like baking bread?
I’ve never had a yeast infection. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out.