The Dangers Of Spanx, Shapewear, And Corsets (#5 – We Had No Idea!)

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Ladies and gentleman, we understand the desire to look good. Who doesn’t want to go to a high school reunion, office Christmas party, or any public function looking great? Spandex or other types of shapewear seem to be the perfect solution, don’t they? Simply slip these items on and, like magic, you look 10 pounds slimmer, your body is sleek and smooth, and you can hide those ugly love handles. What could be easier? How in the world can something so harmless be terrible for you?

What shapewear and the newfound interest in corsets do to the body is worse than terrible. Women everywhere (and occasionally, even men) are doing great harm to the body for the sake of our vanity. In addition to being uncomfortable, and in some cases, downright painful, we are squeezing our bodies in vices of our own devices.

Most people have absolutely no idea the damage they are doing to themselves, just to look better.

If you haven’t heard of “waist training” yet, you will. This seems new to many young ladies today, but it’s simply the second coming of an old clothing item from the Victorian ages: The corset. The endless search for a smaller waist has sparked a renewed interest in the use of corsets to obtain an otherwise unnatural shape.

“Waist training” involves wearing a corset for hours, sometimes for an entire eight hour day, in order to obtain an ‘hourglass’ figure. When young, impressionable girls see celebrities like Kim Kardashian posting selfies of their waist training corsets, it gives the idea that this is a safe and normal type of beauty routine.

Proponents of this practice say that the garments cause you to lose water weight through sweat, but it simply isn’t possible to shave inches off your waist through perspiration in any kind of permanent way. If you think about it, once you remove the garment, your body will return to its original shape. Any type of real change is taking place due to compressed, squished organs and squashed, misshapen rib cages.

One before and after picture of a women who has used corsets in an attempt to “ correct” her figure will clearly show you the dangers of what many women are doing to their bodies.

It’s not just corsets, either. Many types of shapewear are so tight that they also cause serious health problems. What kind of problems are we talking about?

Let’s take a look at what happens when you slip into that shapewear.

 

1. Severe Organ Compression

Obviously, the job of shapewear is to be tight — otherwise, what would be the point? However, most shapewear compresses the colon, stomach, and intestines to the point that it is downright damaging. Compression of the stomach can cause heartburn, acid reflux, and erosive esophagitis, which means that your stomach acid is pushed up into your esophagus, burning it and causing damage. When the digestive tract is affected, your intestines can no longer contract and move food or waste through the body. This can lead to constipation and the complete shutdown of your digestive system. Many women state that they have felt dizzy, fainted, or thrown up because of the intense pressure of the corset or shapewear that they had on.

Have you ever eaten a really large meal, and then had to unbutton your jeans so your stomach could do its job? Imagine eating that meal and then putting on jeans that are three sizes too small. There really isn’t much difference.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

2. Infection

All types of shapewear, and especially those made from synthetic materials, trap moisture and everything else underneath it. This is the perfect breeding ground for infection, both bacterial and fungal. The most common type of infection seen with shapewear is called folliculitis. As the name suggests, this occurs when bacteria is trapped in the hair follicles, causing puss-filled, red bumps. Ladies, you might also find that you can develop vaginal fungal infections, urinary tract infections, and kidney infections. Of course, if you then choose to use antibiotics to treat these infections, you not only ruin your immune system, but you make fighting these type of infections more and more difficult as they become resistant to antibiotic treatments.

 

3. Bowel Compression

If you suffer from IBS or other type of bowel problems, you should be especially wary of any type of shapewear. Those who are incontinent, even just a little, or if you have any type of bowel problem, often find that shapewear puts even more pressure on their bowels, which makes for embarrassing incontinence occurrences. There is also the problem of removing shapewear. Since it can be so very difficult to get both into and out of, many people avoid going to the bathroom as long as possible. This often leads to kidney infections, and for those who suffer from stress incontinence, it makes these episodes of incontinence even worse than before.

 

4. It Weakens The Muscles

Shapewear is no substitute for strong muscles. Even if you are overweight, strong supporting muscles will keep things from sagging or jiggling quite so much. Strong core muscles will promote better posture and keep the spine in alignment, which can make you appear thinner without shapewear. Many people think that they can avoid all that work and just use shapewear but it doesn’t work in the same way that, say, a medical back brace would. Shapewear is definitely NOT designed to be therapeutic. Using shapewear rather than doing exercise will only leave those muscles weaker than they were before.

 

5. Obstructs Breathing

Because shapewear is so tight and unyielding, it causes shallow breathing. Normal inhalation causes your diaphragm to expand and your abdomen to stick out a bit. Shapewear inhibits this natural movement. Less oxygen to your brain can leave you feeling tired, sleepy, and feeling as if you are high or as if you are dreaming.

 

6. Pain In The Legs And Blood Clots

Sitting for any length of time (more than an hour) can cause a health problem called meralgia paresthetica, which is where the large, peripheral nerve in the thigh becomes compressed. This will quickly lead to numbness, tingling, burning, and pain in the legs. Imagine putting rubber bands around your thighs and then pulling them tight when you sit down. This compression also leads to much less circulation in the legs, which leads to ugly and painful varicose veins, congestion of the lymph system (which will show itself as swollen legs, feet, and ankles), and perhaps the most dangerous problem of them all: Blood clots. If you should develop blood clots in the legs, you could literally be killed by your shapewear.

 

READ ALSO: Forget the Pushup Bra! Get Your Girls in Shape with These Exercises!

 

Although they aren’t as common as women, men have also been known to wear shapewear or very tight, “skinny” jeans that accomplish the same thing. Gentleman, wearing these items can cause you many of the same types of problems, including yeast infections in the genital area.

The good news here is that you don’t have to quit your shapewear altogether. For occasional wear, such as to a wedding or that high school reunion, you should be fine. But for every day, going to the office wear? Forget it. Save the Spanx and other types of shapewear for special events only.

 

References:

http://www.consumerreports.org

http://muse.jhu.edu

http://www.maneyonline.com