Yet another thing women do for appearance's sake: squeeze their organs. Well, not intentionally, perhaps, but as a side effect of donning the all-popular Spanx and other shapewear. The Huffington Post decided to dig into just how much harm the helpful undergarments might be inflicting, and turned to a gastroenterologist, dermatologist, and chiropractor for answers. The upshot: By its nature shapewear is a tight squeeze, and in doing its job it compresses your stomach, intestine, and colon, with potentially unpleasant and even damaging results.
The doctors explain that compression can exacerbate acid reflux and heartburn, can make an already-existing incontinence problem worse, and can lead to erosive esophagitis. Less perilously, the tightness can cause temporary gas and bloating. And in putting what function as "giant rubber bands around your upper thighs" then sitting, circulation suffers, and blood clots can form. Shapewear also traps moisture, which can result in yeast or bacterial infections. The experts' advice? Moderation; don't wear it daily. And if you can't get it off "without a struggle," you may need a bigger size. But a vascular medicine specialist tells Today there's probably not much to worry about. As far as health goes, "People would be better served quitting smoking or wearing seat belts." (Read more Spanx stories.)