Most people rarely think about the health effects of their clothes. Including what they’re wearing underneath their clothes.
Despite their extreme popularity, experts are warning that shapewear can actually hurt your health.
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What Damage Can Shapewear Do?
It can hurt your stomach. Because shapewear can only work if it’s tight, it can severely compress your stomach, intestines and colon compressed, which experts say can worsen acid reflux and heartburn.
According to gastroenterologist Dr. John Kuemmerle, restrictive clothing can also provoke erosive esophagitis.
It can hurt your digestive tract. Your digestive tract is also affected, explains Dr. Karen Erickson, a chiropractor. The intestines are supposed to contract and move food along, but when they’re compressed over a long period of time, the flow of digestion is stifled.
“It’s like when people eat a huge meal and then unbuckle their jeans,” Dr. Kuemmerle says. This damage, though not permanent, can lead to unpleasant symptoms like abdominal discomfort, bloating and gas.
It can hurt your bowels. Those with functional bowel disorders and irritable bowel syndrome should wear shapewear with caution.
“In someone who has weakness down below and a tendency towards incontinence,” Dr. Kuemmerle explains, “increasing intra-abdominal pressure can certainly provoke episodes of incontinence.”
It can hurt your legs and circulation. According to Dr. Erickson, sitting in shapewear can lead to a reversible condition called meralgia paresthetica, which can lead to tingling, numbness and pain in your legs.
“It’s like putting these giant rubber bands around your upper thighs and tightening them when you sit,” Dr. Erickson says.
This rubber band effect can also decrease your circulation and lead to blood clots.