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Can Shapewear be Dangerous?

9-25-shapewear-dangersHere at Big Girls Bras, we love shapewear! It can help you look and feel more trim, it can tame those excess jiggles and help disguise the love handles or problem area that makes you feel self conscious. Anything that helps you look great and feel more confident can’t be bad, right? Well, there are some persistent myths that shapewear can be dangerous for long-term use, or under certain circumstances, so today we’re going to look at the real medical science behind these shapewear myths. Are you ready to find out if your favorite piece of shapewear can be dangerous?

Under Certain Circumstances, Shapewear can Cause Discomfort
Last month, a gastroenterologist sat down on a morning news program and talked about whether shapewear was actually dangerous or not. What she revealed may come as a surprise: under some circumstances, shapewear can actually cause discomfort! This is what she had to say:

  • Irritable bowel sufferers: the intestines are constantly expanding and contracting, but if they can’t expand due to constraining shapewear, it can actually cause some pain and discomfort in the abdominal region – particularly in irritable bowel sufferers.
  • People with acid reflux: doctors actually recommend that people with acid reflux wear looser clothing. If clothing is too tight around the midline – like a shaper might be! – it can cause more stomach acid to pass up into the esophagus, which is what causes discomfort for acid reflux sufferers.
  • Yeast infections: yeast loves damp, warm environments – and if you wear shapewear that doesn’t breathe properly, it can create an environment that promotes yeast growth and may contribute to yeast infections.

Basically, the gastroenterologist described conditions under which shapewear that’s too tight could exacerbate the symptoms of existing underlying medical conditions. Shapewear isn’t inherently dangerous – but if you’re already suffering from a medical condition like IBS or acid reflux, it could conceivably cause your symptoms to flare up.

How to Avoid Shapewear Health Risks
If you want to avoid the discomfort that may arise from wearing shapewear, here’s what you need to know:

  • Make sure it’s properly sized! The issues that the gastroenterologist described were primarily a result of shapewear that’s too constraining in the midsection. If you try to wear shapewear a size down to get extra control, or multiple pieces of shapewear for a trimmer look, you could exacerbate these issues!
  • Wear shapewear that breathes well. The other medical hazard described in the clip was the potential for a yeast infection. No one wants that! But as long as your shapewear stays dry and breathes well, it won’t be promoting the damp, warm environment that yeast needs to grow out of control.

So the bottom line is: no, shapewear isn’t actually dangerous. But if you wear shapewear that’s too tight, or doesn’t breathe properly, it can exacerbate underlying conditions and cause the symptoms to flare up. So now you know – your shapewear can’t hurt you, but if you don’t shop carefully for sizing and breathability, you may experience some discomfort when you wear shapewear.

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