Spanx, the shapewear touted by Oprah Winfrey and dozens of Hollywood celebrities for its slimming effect, can be hazardous to your health.
Gastroenterologist Dr. John Kuemmerle, dermatologist Dr. Maryann Mikhail, and chiropractor Dr. Karen Erickson told the HuffingtonPost that wearing Spanx crushes your internal organs, causes indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, and vaginal infections.
Spanx skyrocketed in popularity after Oprah Winfrey plugged the high-fashion girdles on her show in 2007. Spanx sales soared following Oprah's endorsement, making creator Sara Blakely the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.
But medical experts say wearing Spanx (or any other tight shapewear, girdle or skinny jeans) can cause health problems like incontinence, constipation and tingling pain in your legs.
"You've got all of this pressure on your bladder from the shapewear pressing down," said Dr. Kuemmerle. "If you postpone urinating, it can cause stress incontinence, where you leak, or it can exaggerate stress incontinence with people who already have it."
The tightness of the Spanx girdle can also cut off blood circulation in your legs, leading to potentially deadly blood clots. Doctors say the health risks are higher for overweight people, diabetics and people who sweat a lot.
"It's like putting these giant rubber bands around your upper thighs and tightening them when you sit," said Dr. Erickson.
Interestingly, Jessica Alba claimed her post-baby weight loss secret was wearing super-tight double corsets all day long for three months post-birth. “I wore a double corset day and night for three months," said Jessica. "It was sweaty, but worth it. It was brutal; it’s not for everyone." Alba wore the tight girdles from the moment she gave birth until three months after delivery.
Medical experts say it's okay to wear Spanx, but you shouldn't wear them for extended periods of time or get one that's too tight.
"Everyone I know owns shapewear; it's kind of a miracle," said Dr. Erickson. "But we want to be mindful to not wear it on a day-in, day-out basis."