Could Shapewear Cause Incontinence? According to Doctors, the Answer Is Yes

Doctors say shapewear can wreak havoc on your organs, digestive tract and more

There are many things in life that just aren’t fair. Like walking into work after an early morning spinning class to find a box of donuts on your desk. Or somehow managing to avoid hearing how Lost ended through five seasons on Netflix only to have the twist spoiled by your well-meaning (but totally clueless) friend right before you make it to the finale. And now: Hearing that while Spanx make you look instantly five pounds thinner, they’re also crushing your organs.

Talk about a buzz kill.

The Huffington Post recently reached out to a trio of specialists – a gastroenterologist, a dermatologist and a chiropractor to find out if shapewear can be hazardous to our health. The short answer? Yes.

Dr. John Kuemmerle, the gastroenterologist, tells the website the tight materials that make up shapewear can compress your colon, stomach and intestine, as well as make acid reflux and heartburn more severe and bring on something called erosive esophagitis. We’re not sure what that is, but it doesn’t sound at all pleasant.

And, oh, yeah: Your Spanx can cause incontinence, too, the doc tells HuffPo, especially for those who have had bouts of IBS in the past. Um, equal parts ick and eek!

Dr. Karen Erickson, the chiropractor, tells HuffPo shapewear also can do a number on your digestion, causing gas, bloating or other tummy woes, along with shallow breathing. Neat! She tells the site sitting too long in shapewear may cause meralgia paresthetica, a condition that compresses a nerve in your leg, causing a range of fun stuff like tingles, numbness or plain ol’ pain.

"It's like putting these giant rubber bands around your upper thighs and tightening them when you sit," Erickson tells the website, adding that swelling, varicose veins and even blood clots could result from too-tight shapewear.

One more tidbit that may cause you to ditch your Spanx, altogether: Dr. Maryann Mikhail, the dermatologist, says bacterial and yeast infections can be caused by shapewear, particularly an infection that will leave you with “red puss-filled bumps.” Is that whimpering we hear?

Now, all is not lost, Spanx fans. HuffPo notes that wearing Spanx now and again is probably fine, but everyday use? You might want to invest in some flowing skirts or trousers.

Acid reflux. Varicose veins. Incontinence. Puss-filled bumps. Maybe looking five pounds heavier isn’t so bad after all. Pass those office, donuts, please.

Lesley Kennedy writes for Follow ShopAtHome on Twitter @shopathome and Lesley on Google+.

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