The Science of Saggy Boobs, Explained

Our breasts are some fascinating lumps of fat, but even though we know a ton about what they are and what they can do (support human life! Be really, really fun! So much more!), there are some seeming mysteries about them that the average person doesn't always know the answers to. But that's whyStuff Mom Never Told You's Cristen Conger is here to break down the science of saggy boobs to us. Not that there's anything wrong with saggy boobs; it's just that a lot of people seem to be confused as to how they work. So let's take a look. The more you know, right?

First things first: what are saggy boobs, exactly? There's a scientific term for them — breast ptosis — but the cause isn't something you can easily point to. As Conger points out, most people tend to blame the sagging of breasts on one of two factors: gravity or bras. Gravity is something we can probably all agree exists, right? But while it does cause breasts to sag a little bit as we age, gravity is actually not one of the main culprits of breast ptosis. Shocking, right? Especially considering everything we've grown up hearing about how gravity is the enemy of our breasts!

So what about the second frequently cited "cause?"

Let's talk about bras.

The first patent for bras goes back to 1914. It was given to a woman by the name of Mary Phelps Jacobs, a socialite who used two handkerchiefs and a ribbon to create what she dubbed a "Backless Brassiere." She eventually sold her patent to Warner Brothers Corset Company, who then turned the creation into a more comfortable, stylish, and practical alternative to corsets. All of this is to say that bras were not, in fact, invented for scientific or medical purposes — although, as Conger says, this hasn't stopped doctors from prescribing them as necessary for preventing sagging, postulating that they helped to keep the breasts' Cooper's ligaments nice and taut.

As women started to ditch their bras in the 1970s, doctors warned that it would "tucker out" the Cooper's ligaments and thus, cause breasts to sag. This line of thinking has never completely died out, although a 2013 French study of bras and boob sagging found that bras might actually cause boobs to sag — apparently they make the Cooper's ligaments get lazy with all of that extra support.

This study sent the Internet into an uproar, as everyone who wasn't wearing bras had an "I told you so" moment, while everyone who had been religiously wearing bras in order to prevent their breasts from sagging were left more confused than ever. Although the study went viral, its results can't actually be applied humans across the world due to differences in populations, meaning that bras may not actually be causing your boobs to sag.

So looking at both of the presumed causes of breast ptosis, neither gravity nor bras actually cause saggy boobs. Consider those myths busted.

But, you're probably now wondering what is actually causing saggy boobs and what can be done to prevent it, if that's your thing? Watch the full video below to find out the answers.

Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Stuff Mom Never Told You/YouTube (3)