Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Five Steps for Purchasing a Sports Bra After Breast Surgery

/PRNewswire/ -- Buying a bra - especially one for jogging or other athletic activities - is a frustrating experience for many women. For women who have had breast surgery - whether for cancer or another procedure - it can be especially challenging.

With a number of breast cancer walks and runs scheduled for spring and summer, not to mention swimsuit season around the corner, finding just the right sportswear is important. Amoena, the worldwide leader of post-breast surgery products, provides bras, swimwear and other apparel to help women after breast surgery. The company also helps to train and educate bra fitters (fit specialists) to help women find the ideal bras and sportswear for their unique body types and daily activities.

"We want to make sure that every woman has a bra that properly supports them while they engage in a fun and enjoyable exercise regimen," said Valerie Esquilla, product manager for Breast Forms and Textiles for Amoena. "Studies show that exercise is one of the best choices women can make to fight depression, improve their overall health and regain their confidence after breast surgery. We want to encourage women - whether they've exercised before or not - to find some activity they enjoy - and get out there and do it!"

So how can women who have had breast surgery find the best bra for their needs? Here are five simple tips from Esquilla and Amoena fit specialists.

1. Remember that fit is everything! Many women find that their body
changes considerably after surgery. Even if you have prostheses or
implants that indicate one size, your bra size may vary depending on
the style. Let a trained fit specialist measure you to find the best
possible bra style and size.
2. Find a comfortable bra. Even if the bra is your size, or appears to
fit, if it isn't comfortable, chances are you won't keep up your
exercise routine. Try on the bra, and then mimic some of the movements
you might engage in during exercise. If it is uncomfortable in the
fitting room, it will definitely not be comfortable when you are at
your highest activity level.
3. Ensure you feel confident in your bra. Wear your exercise attire to the
fitting. If you bend over and "show a little more skin" than you want,
consider buying a different style of clothing. You may also want to
wear shirts that are more fitted around your waist so they won't ride
up while exercising. "You don't want to feel self-conscious when you
exercise," says Penni Pitre, a breast cancer survivor from Phoenix, AZ
and a self-proclaimed jazzercise fanatic.
4. Check for balance and symmetry across the chest - especially if you've
had a full or partial mastectomy or lumpectomy. Wider shoulder straps
are important to help balance the weight of your breasts and provide
greater comfort. Pay special attention to the shoulder area. Make sure
the bra isn't pulling or adding too much weight for your shoulders. And
remember that if one breast is a different size, there are "symmetry
shapers" that can help to ensure balance.

5. Make adjustments as necessary. As you exercise your body will likely
change again. If in a few months your bra isn't providing the support
and comfort you need, go back to your fitter to see what adjustments
can be made. You may not need a new bra; simple alterations may

Esquilla cautions that when you do begin exercising, to start slowly and don't get discouraged. If you haven't exercised for several months, get your doctor's approval first, and then gradually ease into your new routine. Some initial discomfort and tenderness after surgery is normal. "Keep trying, but if you remain sore or overly tired after a few tries, be sure to contact your physician," says Esquilla.

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