The Health Ramifications of Wearing Shapewear

Ah, shapewear – the undergarment that magically nips waists, sucks in tummies and smoothes out lumps and bumps for illusory perfect curves. 

Actress Jennifer Coolidge once said: “I hate Spanx because even though they look so good under your clothes, sometimes mid-wedding I’ll be like, ‘I feel so nauseous.’ They’re so tight, who knows what you’re cutting off?”

Turns out, Coolidge was onto something. If beauty is pain, your Spanx could be causing some serious health ramifications.

Gastroenterologist Dr. John Kuemmerle, dermatologist Dr. Maryann Mikhail and chiropractor Dr. Karen Erickson shared how long-term wear of shapewear can harm your health with the Huffington Post.


Organ Compression
Shapewear is meant to tighten and squeeze everything in for a seamless look. However, it’s this tightening that compresses your stomach, intestine and colon. According to Dr. Kuemmerle, this can worsen acid reflux and heartburn, while also instigating erosive esophagitis. If it can get any worse, your digestive tract is also victim to being compressed over a long period of time that can lead to stomachaches, bloating and gas.

Bowel Compression
While everything else is compressed, your bowels get a share of it, too. “In someone who has weakness down below and a tendency towards incontinence, increasing intra-abdominal pressure can certainly provoke episodes of incontinence,” Dr. Kuemmerle said.

Leg Pain
Those genetically prone to varicose veins and lymph congestion should be wary of compressed shapewear that can wreak havoc on circulation and can lead to blood clots, said Dr. Erickson. Sitting in tight shapewear can also lead to meralgia paresthetica, which is when a nerve in your thigh is compressed, leading to tingling and numbness in your legs.

Bacterial Infections
The constraints of shapewear cause moisture to be trapped between your skin and the fabric, which can lead to nasty yeast and bacterial infections. The most common infection Dr. Mikhail sees is folliculitis, where bacteria gets among hair follicles, causing red puss-filled bumps.

So, is shapewear still safe? Yes, but don’t overdo it by wearing it every day. Be mindful, and don shapewear only for special occasions, and choose a size that fits you well and is comfortable.

Source: Huffington Post

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