Your Spanx are squeezing you sick


Ladies, we're making ourselves sick in the name of style, and it has to stop. Whether we're squeezing into Spanx and other breath-stealing shapewear or trying to rock the skinny jeans look (which I wish would for the love of Gucci go AWAY already, because it isn't flattering on 99 percent of women!), we're putting ourselves at risk for ... Skinny Pants Syndrome.

No, I'm not kidding. According to Consumer Reports Health, doctors are seeing more and more young women coming in complaining of nerve symptoms like leg pain, numbness, and tingling. The symptoms are usually indicative of a compressed nerve condition, called meralgia paresthetica, which occurs in pregnant and obese women. But now thanks to overwear of skinny jeans, Spanx, and other constrictive clothing, young, athletic women are contending with it! What's more, docs warn that they've seen the tight garments cause tons of other problems like bladder and yeast infections and even blood clots!!!


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Now, okay, obviously these health concerns don't develop overnight or after one wear of Spanx or a couple of days a week of wearing skin-tight leggings. But I have known women to wear the hell out of either -- day in, day out -- and that's when worrisome nerve conditions develop. That's because the clothing pinches the femoral cutaneous nerve that runs along the thigh and pelvic area. Ooouch!!

And then when it comes to the yeastie beasties or bacterial infections -- ick, I know -- tight pants are often the culprit, because HELLO, layers of tight-ass lycra or camel toe-inducing pants suffocate your lady parts. I know none of us want to think about our vulva having needs of its own, but it really does have to breathe to function. (Makes me think of how my mom used to rail out about how I could only buy cotton undies. To this day, I am skeeved by panties made from lab-made fabrics like spandex or nylon.)

Oh, and furthermore, I've worn Spanx under my dress to every single wedding I've gone to ... period. Yep, and in just the last couple of years, I haven't been able to get through a reception without having painful acid reflux! I didn't know what the problem could be, blamed the booze, coffee, food, dancing, etc. But it really comes down to the damn Spanx! I've heard it more than once that constrictive garments around the belly can even cause cramping and abdominal issues, especially in people with IBS or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Woe is my tummy!

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Sadly, it seems to me that there are two underlying problems here: a.) We're so desperate to look SKINNY and muffintop-less that we squeeze ourselves into shapewear that -- although quite helpful when you're attempting to wear some sexy, form-fitting number -- can be really freakin' uncomfortable! And b.) we want so desperately to be "on trend" that we go for jeans that do nothing really but impinge on our physical well-being!

But, no, please, stop the madness!! We could all do well to scale back on the Spanx. Try some more breathable undies and pants once in awhile. (Not sweatpants, silly, but maybe something that's not a jegging -- shudder.) Because I don't see how it's worth it. Just like I've never understood wearing 5+" heels. (I mean, seriously, come on, ladies ... do you want to kill yourself??) No matter what Rachel Zoe says, no one should put her health at risk for fashion.

Are you addicted to Spanx or skinny jeans? Do you think they're worth the health issues they can cause?

Written by Maressa Brown for CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

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