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asthma and clothing

I still don't know for sure if my true diagnosis is definitely asthma, but well, while I wait to be assessed and reassessed etc by the consultants (have a better one now), at least now I have had one thing confirmed by them - that wearing clothing/undies that are too tight around the upper body can bring on asthmatic sensations (tight chest, etc). That was one thing I was wondering about for a long time.

Does anyone else suffer in this way?

11 Replies

Glad you have a better consultant now - good luck with the diagnosis etc!

Just to be sure, did they mean that tight clothing can imitate asthma symptoms even if you're not having them (or even if you don't have asthma? Can imagine really tight clothes might make anyone feel SOB...) or that it can make symptoms you're already having worse? I never used to really notice my bra, except a sports one I have that's very tight (and which I now don't like to wear as I don't like feeling compressed any more than I have to) but now do find that I notice it when breathing is an issue - is that the sort of thing you meant?

I also wouldn't want to wear any corset type thing and quite often am reluctant to wear an outfit I used to wear a lot, a dress with a belt quite high up (I still wear the dress but with a different belt that I can wear lower and looser; I used not to be that bothered by tightish belts unless they were really tight).


i'd say being squashed by tight clothes could impede your breathing.

I know one day i was having back issues and was wearing a back support in work. Usually on my flute i can do a full chromatic scale 3 octaves up and down in one breath, on this particular day one of the kids asked me to do it but i had to take a breath part-way through. The class teacher (who i get on with very well) commented ""is your chest troubling you today?"" It was literally cos i was obviously squashing the bottom part of my lungs with the back support so couldn't expand fully to take a full breath.


thanks Philomela re the consulant!

They said that wearing tight clothing/bra can bring on the feeling of being tight chested and having difficulty breathing (asthmatic symptoms).

Yes, like your sports bra scenario. -I always manage to aggravate women's fitting departments as I always insist on a size that's a little too big, they don't understand, but I do!!! But I must be able to breathe with ease, and thats more important to me than being dictated to as to what I ought to wear!!

I may very well have asthma, its still undecided. I reckon it **is** asthma, but up to now others are not sure (its probably borderline). Close family members had it. I would be very surprised if it wasn't asthma. So yeah, asthmatic symptoms.

Like you there are a lot of wonderful clothes that I can no longer wear and sadly I've another bag full for the charity shops, and for me this also includes certain pairs of jeans that are waist high and clingy. Such a pity, but thankfully elasticated leggings are still plentiful. And this is why I am relieved to find jeans that only come up to the hips widely available.


I would think that wearing something too tight would make anyone feel unwell and for me would signal cut down on the pies. Were I to have so much discomfort that I contemplated throwing out or not wearing a certain type of clothing, then I might be looking at something other than asthma in that case.

Whilst I agree that asthma symptoms can include a feeling that one's bra is too tight and could be releaved by removing said item, where does this leave the male asthmatics who also get this feeling. Of the male asthmatics in my close circle of friends, none of them wear a bra nor indeed tight t-shirts. (I cannot speak for anyone else). How do they approach this fling off your bra to make your tight chest feel better. They can't.

Seriously, if it is me and I have the bra too tight feeling, often in one week then it is time to approach my asthma nurse and ask for help.

Asthma is a strange thing and presents in many different ways with many different meds and life style changes but not, and I do look forward to more study on the subject if it is the case, to the extent of changing one's clothing choice.

Ps it took some number of years before GPs joined the dots on my symptoms of chronic cough, chest tightness and breathlessness to suggest proper lung function tests that said very clearly I have asthma. In fact had to do it twice with new practice who thought it may be COPD. I have no family history of asthma which is why maybe it took longer to reach lung function test referral. I wish you luck in getting difinitive diagnosis one way or the other. Meanwhile, I'd dump the high waisted trews. Even Simon Cowell has stopped wearing them. Cheers!


My girlfriend says 'asthma gets right on her tits' and usually whips her bra off when symptomatic


Haha love it Woody-som, there should be a T-shirt you can get with that slogan lol.

I will say with me it's just the bra (and this sports one is really tight but being ahem somewhat well-endowed I like plenty of support) and the one belt that sits around my ribs. Wast and hip belts don't bother me, unless they're really tight and again that would bother everyone. I wear low-waisted jeans anyway as anything hi-waisted on me looks terrible.

So I guess I'd say that while the tight clothing thing does strike a chord I'm a little confused about its causing symptoms unless extremely tight; I never used to have this feeling with the bra before all this kicked off, and in fact preferred ones that felt at least firm round the back.

PS Bbert you do sound a bit like me with the confusing symptoms. I also have a lot of family members with it and had it when younger so feel that with medication etc helping and other things this is also most likely for me.


OH my word!! The last 3 posts above this one have made me laugh so much (sorry guys!!!)

The only people who have confirmed tight clothing/tight bra might bring on asthmatic symptoms (tight chest, difficulty breathing), were an asthma nurse on this website's phone helpline, and a hospital consultant.

I must stress that most of us no doubt have different triggers and that this is one of my triggers.

Also I had a chest & upper back x ray & an mri & all ok there, no sign of copd, had allergy testing & nothing showed up there, have had a variety of breathing-into-various-things tests at clinics/hosps and the results of these so far are inconclusive, hence a bronchial challenge test is now on the horizon at the hosp, where I need to drastically reduce inhalers for a week before this test - am not looking forward to that, will probably stay in all that week avoiding whatever triggers I can.

The tight chest feeling with clothes/bra is not the same feeling you get when your trousers are too tight (when you've eaten too much, when they've shrunk in the wash, etc).

Interesting point about men not having a bra though!! I am at a loss with how to respond to this except to suggest not everyone's triggers are the same.


Asthma is a disease that affects the airways.I don't think wearing tight clothes is a good idea anyway.


They always say in the first aid manuals to loosen tight clothing during anything it seems!

I much prefer not wearing a bra when chest is bad... its got to have been a man that invented bra's!!


Thanks Birds.What I mean to say is to go with clothes that is most comfortable for you.


I must be the odd one out as I wear tightish clothes a lot and have never noticed a difference, unless I've just put any symptoms.down to something else! I don't really know what my triggers are so I blame everything and anything!

I'll do some research and report back!

Out of interest, I wonder if wearing a bikini top would have the same affect as a bra? Anyone any ideas?


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