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For some health problems, we can blame our genes. For others, we can point the finger at our tight jeans.
Skinny jeans, Spanx and other constrictive clothing can lead to a host of health issues, from bladder and yeast infections to nerve damage and even blood clots. According to Consumer Reports Health, doctors are seeing more young patients complaining of worrisome nerve symptoms like leg pain, numbness and tingling. Most often seen in pregnant and obese women, meralgia paresthetica, as the nerve condition is called, is showing up even in young, fit girls.
The report comes from neurologist Orly Avitzur, M.D., who was recently visited by a 15-year-old girl who’d had tingling in her thigh for several months. Though these symptoms can be a sign of serious conditions like multiple sclerosis or diabetes, in this girl’s case, it was a red flag that she was ODing on Spanx. Turns out, her entire high school soccer team was wearing the skintight shapewear underneath their uniforms. Avitzur’s Rx: Cut out the Spanx and symptoms should subside within a matter of months.
However, the modern-day girdle that puts the squeeze on muffin tops, love handles and saddlebags isn’t the only culprit. Any tight-fitting clothing can put the pinch on the femoral cutaneous nerve that runs along the thigh and pelvic area. And nerve issues aren’t the only concern with the skinny-jean fad. Super tight pants can lead to gynecological problems, too.
One OB/GYN has even given a name to all the below-the-belt issues cropping up because of the skinny-jean phenomenon: tight pants syndrome. Yeast infections, discharge, pelvic pain and itching can all result from not giving your girlie bits room to breathe. At the very least, say doctors, wear breathable underwear to reduce your risk of infections.
Lastly, if you feel like you get a stomach ache every time you wear your favorite jeans, it's not your imagination. Tightness around the belly can even cause cramping and abdominal issues, especially in people with IBS or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Bottom line: If you wriggling into your pants in the morning takes a crowbar and bottle of lube, they’re too tight. Think of your Spanx, skinny jeans and other super-tight clothes as special occasion wear -- and forgo the spiked heels, which can put even more pressure on the nerve, when wearing them. While we wouldn’t dream of sending you into shock by recommending drawstring pants or sweats, perhaps at the end of a long day, you might consider kicking off your jeggings and slipping into something a little more comfortable.
Here, a few more ways your fashion sense could be wreaking havoc on your health.