Shapewear “Perfects” Your Look by Literally Squishing Your Organs

Everyone, take a full, deep breath and step away from the shapewear. Whether you swear by your Spanx every day or just break them out for special occasions, you aren’t doing your body any favors.


Shapewear is specifically designed to suck you up and hide any “blemishes” your body might have. To do that, of course, it has to be pretty tight. According to three doctors interviewed by the Huffington Post, that tightness can be dangerous.

The doctors, a gastroenterologist, dermatologist, and chiropractor, said that shapewear actually compresses your internal organs. Let’s say that again. Shapewear is compressing your internal organs, like your stomach, intestine, and colon.

Compressing the organs making up the digestive tract causes problems like acid reflux and heartburn. It can also cause the flow of digestion to be disrupted. Dr. Erickson, chiropractor, said tight shapewear can make it difficult for the intestines to contract properly, which causes abdominal discomfort, bloating, and gas. It’s a similar phenomenon to what many of us experience after Thanksgiving dinner.

Wearers of Spanx and other shapewear may notice another problem: shortness of breath. Your diaphragm is supposed to expand and cause your abdomen to flare during normal breathing. However, due to the constriction caused by shapewear, that can’t happen, which leads to shallow breathing similar to what you would experience while wearing a corset.

Those are just the major side effects. The doctors also cited incontinence, numbness and pain in your legs, poor muscle tone, and increased yeast and bacterial infections as side effects of shapewear. Sounds fun, right?

It’s common knowledge that most celebrities wear shapewear like Spanx under their red carpet looks. Everyone from Melissa McCarthy to Gwyneth Paltrow has admitted to utilizing the constrictive clothing.

“Everyone I know owns shapewear,” Dr. Erickson said. “It’s kind of a miracle. But I think we want to be mindful to not wear it on a day-in and day-out basis.” She added that shapewear can be great for special occasions when you really want to look your best, but find something that fits your body, and not something you have to squeeze your body into.

“You really want to pick shapewear that actually fits you. You want it to do its job, but you don’t want to get something so small that it’s damaging you.”

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