Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Many Women Can't Live Without Their Spanx - But Is It Dangerous?

They say that history has a way of repeating itself, and this is yet another example of that. It was just a matter of time before someone would find something wrong with Spanx and other shapewear.

What goes around comes around.

Many Women Can't Live Without Their Spanx - But is it Dangerous?
Think back to the 1950's and early 60's when girdles were a daily necessity for so many women. Yes, they helped create the hourglass figure which was so desirable at the time, but they came under scrutiny too, much to the relief of an entire generation or two of women. Corsets were popular before that, and they, too, disappeared after setting fashion trends for decades. "Shapewear" in one form or another have come into fashion and back out of fashion for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Thanks in great part to the popularity of Oprah and her vocalSpanx, shapewear seemed to become an overnight sensation in our lifetime. But, perhaps for different reasons that girdles died out over fifty years ago, shapewear is now under criticism for causing a host of potential problems for women who wear them on a regular basis. Among the problems reported by physicians across the country:

Compresses your stomach           Can worsen heartburn and acid reflux
Compresses diaphragm                Can cause pain, shallow breathing, nausea, lightheadedness
Compresses intestines                 Can affect your digestive tract causing bloating, gas, pain
Compresses colon                       Symptoms of irritable bowel and/or incontinence
Restricts blood flow                      Can decrease circulation, increase risk of blood clots
                                                   Develop varicose veins, swollen ankles
Compresses nerves                      Can cause tingling, numbness and pain in legs
Cradles muscles                          Can weaken muscles you are no longer using
Traps moisture                             Increased risks of bacterial or yeast infections

Experts advise that you select any type of shapewear with a goal of proper fit. While style is something we always look at, it is far more important to make sure that you select the right type of garment. If you are prone to acid reflux, for example, you want to avoid a garment that sits right under your bra, as it may worsen your symptoms.If you suffer from gastro-intestinal problems, you may want to avoid a waistband garment, and if you have varicose veins, make sure that the legs are not too tight.

Dr. Robert N. Young adds, "If you have large breasts, you may want to avoid shapewear with thin shoulder straps, as it could worsen back, shoulder or neck pain and cause painful grooves.They can provide excellent support, but should fit right so they don't make your problem worse." While shapewear can temporarily smooth your body, they don't offer lasting solutions. If you have problems with shapewear but can't imagine life without it, Dr. Young points out, "You might want to see if liposuction would be helpful for you."

When shopping for Spanx or any type of shapewear, try different brands as they can vary a lot in fit and body styles. Make sure you can wiggle into your garment without a struggle. Remember you will be pulling the garment on and off several times thoughout the day or evening and it should be something you can do easily.

Are the potential dangers of shapewear worth the risk? Some symptoms can become permanent. Varicose veins don't go away on their own and peripheral nerve damage from extended compression can become constant. It may very well be that it is best to avoid wearing shapewear on a daily basis. Save the Spanx for evenings out and special events where you want to look your best, or to wear with a special dress or slacks that require that special touch.

Drop a comment and let us know what your experience with shapewear has been.

Andrea Algar is an author who writes on topics that interest her. Over the last 30 years she has written articles on a variety of topics and currently contributes to several blogs on a regular basis.

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