All pain and little gain comes with fashion choice

Jelina Cortero, Staff Writer

Women are constantly trying to find new ways to gain an image boost in choosing outfits, especially when it comes to fitting better into their favorite clothes.

However, new studies have doctors warning women about the dangers of wearing shapewear, such as corsets and spanx, under their clothes on a daily basis. The same studies explain how wearing shapewear can potentially do more harm than good.

New York bariatric physician Dr. Jyotindra Shah said that “long-term use of a corset can bruise internal organs, damage skin and restrict breathing,” according to the Huffington Post.

“Bacteria love warm and moist environments, and when wearing such tight clothing, they grow, risking infections like yeast infections,” said Michelle Barkley, Cosumnes River College’s head nurse. “If you’re doing that externally to your body, you’re setting yourself up for infections.”

Organ compression, shallow breath, risks of blood clots, bowel and bladder issues and the  possibility of infections are the top five health concerns relating to spanx, according to an article on Natural News.

In the same article, Dr. John F. Kuemmerle, gastroenterologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, said a lot of the organs get compressed by shapewear, including the colon, intestines and the stomach. This can result in heartburn, acid reflux and an irritated swollen esophagitis. Abdominal discomfort and gas can also occur, caused by suppressed digestion flow.

Neurologist and medical adviser for Consumer Reports, Dr. Orly Avitzur has written extensively about the risks of shapewear and said, “It’s a trend even among thin teen athletes to wear one or even two Spanx all day,” according to an article on

In an article for Consumer Reports, Avitzur related the experience of treating a 15-year-old soccer player who complained of pain, numbness and tingling on the side of her thigh which were all symptoms of nerve damage from compression. “I didn’t think at first to ask her if she wore spanx since she was so thin, but it turned out she did,” Avitzur said in the article.

The girl had also been to a gastrointestinal specialist for stomach pain, which resolved along with the nerve problem after she stopped wearing the shapewear, according to Avitzur’s article.

“I told my patient to ditch the Spanx, and retire her skinny jeans as well,” Avitzur said in the post.

New York chiropractor Dr. Karen Erickson told The Huffington Post that wearing spanx can also lead to blood clots because “it’s like putting these giant rubber bands around your upper thighs and tightening them when you sit.”

But are these health issues enough to prevent students and athletes to stop wearing spanx and corsets all together?

Vanessa Hernandez, a 19-year-old sociology major, doesn’t think so.

“I wouldn’t encourage students to stop wearing them, but I would make sure they’re educated,” Hernandez said.

Daisy Garcia, a 19-year-old undeclared major agreed with Hernandez.

“I don’t really think it’s a major problem,” Garcia said. “If students want to wear them they can continue wearing them and it would be their own problem.”

With the recent studies and rise of health issues, doctors are encouraging women not to wear corsets and spanx under their clothes all the time.

“For brief periods of time, and if it’s necessary [to wear spanx and corsets], there is no harm in that,” Barkley said. “But if it’s for a prolonged period of time, that is where the challenges are to your health. Don’t wear them all the time.”