Your Spanx Are Squeezing You Sick


spanxLadies, 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!!!


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!

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?


Image via Meg Lessard/Flickr

clothes, style, figure fixes, body


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mompam mompam

I love my Spanx. I never had a problem with them.

nonmember avatar Kim

While I'm 100% with you on ditching ludicrous fashion trends that only harm women both physiologically and psychologically, I believe the trend cited in the linked article is referring to athletes who use compression garments to enhance athletic performance, not merely young girls aiming to look svelte in their uniforms. NPR ran an article earlier this week on the same trend but offered a bit more background:

Bottom line, it's still a trend to be cautious of, but I think it's important not to conflate one issue with another. Proper use of athletic compression gear can be important to gain functionality due to injuries or overuse. If I didn't carefully (and fairly tightly) wrap my right thigh, I'd never be able to run because of an injury.

That said, I'm with you on Spanx at weddings. How are we supposed to enjoy the champagne if we're always popping Tums?

amazi... amazingaudri

They honestly don't bug me. I used to wear a corset all the time though. I wonder if thats why?

Marjc... Marjchaos

Corsets are probably healthier. They're sure as heck more comfortable. And they stay put. Out with spanx bring back real shapewear.

russe... russelsprout

i honestly think that skinny jeans are ugly. so i don't wear them. if someone doesn't like the way i look, they can kiss the darkest part of my body. 

most women wear trendy clothes to not be judged.. which is sad. but whatever floats their boat right.. its their fault they put themselves at risk... not the fashion companies. its not like they put a gun up to their head and said, wear my jeans or die.

yngmo... yngmomma21833

I have stuck with bootcut jeans. I just don't like the way I look in skinny jeans. Guess that means I am safe!

morga... morgansmommy06

OK.  When I read this, and seen Skinny Pants Syndrome, I almost peed on myself I started laughing so hard!  I don't know how many of y'all have ever watched the Disney show Sunny with a Chance.. But this was an actual episode of theirs!!  LMBO!!!!


taira... tairakittie

I agree, these things need to stop!! I eat decent and exercise 4 to 6 days a week and wear loose fitting jeans. I don't NEED to wear those things to look skinny, but I understand the need because I have been overweight and wanted to look skinnier. I took the steps it took to get fit and be healthy... so many are putting themselves at further risk all for the sake of fashion. :(

Melis... MelissaCarole

I don't even know what at the hell you are talking about. can't you use English that we all know.


imult... imultracool

I agree. I also agree about most ppl not looking good in skinny jeans. Im a big chick and when I went shopping for jeans the other day they had 'skinny jeans' in my size. Umm... gross. No one who is even close to my size needs to be wearing skinny jeans. Lol.

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