The Dangers of Spanx and Other Shapewear

Beauty & Style | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 01/22/2014 | 04:15 PM EST

The undergarments might give you an attractive silhouette, but could the shapewear be causing bodily harm?

Everyone from Oprah to Beyonce swears by the use of Spanx, the popular undergarment brand that many women use to hide their love handles, pouches and other not-so-flattering body rolls often dictated by society as unattractive.

But while the billion dollar-company, among other shapewear brands, has easily become a closet staple in the homes of many American women, there may actually be some health ramifications for squeezing into such tight undergarments.

According to health professionals, wearing such shapewear compresses your organs. It’s tight form-fitting shape leaves your stomach, intestine and colon compressed, which can worsen acid reflux and heartburn. It also affects your digestive tract. The intestines are supposed to contract and move food along, but when they're compressed over a long period of time, the flow of digestion is stifled.

There are host of other issues such as the compressing of the bowels, nerve damage in your legs and thighs, and may even prevent your muscles from developing if you rely too heavily on Spanx and the like for good posture.

To avoid having to pay for it later in the long haul, there are some tips you can take to keeping your body healthy, without giving up Spanx completely. Doctors recommend that the most important thing you can do is limit how much you wear tight undergarments. Wearing it everyday only puts you at greater risks. Wear it for a special night out on a date or at an event, but don’t wear them daily for hours on end. Also, be sure that you’re wearing the right size. For example, if a shapewear goes all the way up to your bra line, there’s a problem. One size too small can be damaging.

(Photo: Skip Bolen/Getty Images for Spanx)

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