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"Shapewear like Spanx are just a new take on a medieval torture device," Ava Shamban, MD, a Beverly Hills dermatologist and author of "Heal Your Skin," tells Yahoo Shine. They're so tight that they can interfere with your digestion, give you acid reflux, and cause constipation. The compression can cause hemorrhoids and anal fissures, while bacteria in such a humid environment can create yeast overgrowth, and thus, infections. Shamban likens the pressure of Spanx on a woman's organs to that of a pregnancy: When the abdomen is squeezed and blood can't return, it puts too much pressure on the veins in the legs, creating varicose veins. Bottom line? Make sure your shapewear isn't too painful or constricting, and limit your use.
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Aside from restricting your movement, Shamban says, skinny jeans can potentially cause sciatica. "The starting point is the big nerve bundle in the midpoint of your butt cheek. Put enough pressure there, and you will get nerve tingling and damage that can last for a few days." If your pants are very tight, there's also a risk of vaginal infections.
Many of us have loosened our belt a notch after a big meal; it's tightening the accessory that causes trouble. If you cinch your middle too tight, that digging and discomfort means extra pressure on your small intestine and colon. You can look forward to stomach aches, constipation, and burping.
"Getting a proper bra fitting works wonders for your shape and your body," says Shamban. Choose a bra with a band that's too tight, and you're more prone to lung infection due to shallow breathing. Wear one with straps that dig into your shoulders, and you can have nerve inflammation, pressure acne, and even psoriasis breakouts if you're prone to them. And just as some people with nickel or metal allergies are sensitive to costume jewelry, you can get that same sort of irritation from your bra's underwire.
Forget the comfort debate. Unlike briefs or boy shorts, doctors agree that G-strings and thongs are accountable for increased urinary and vaginal infections, since, according to Shamban, thongs are more prone to trapping and spreading bacteria. To avoid any issues, she suggests opting for cotton thongs and using wet wipes after using the bathroom.
All that junk you're lugging around in your purse isn't just a drag; it might actually be the source of pain in your head, neck, and back. "A heavy thin strap can dig in and throw you off balance, affecting posture. Over years and years you can get scoliosis," says Shamban. "Messenger and crossbody bags are more comfortable and better for your body." Backpacks are also great for distributing weight more evenly. Though it's nice to be prepared for anything, try to lighten your load by removing any extra items in your bag that you don't absolutely need.
Though they're not bad for your health, Shamban warns that "any heavy earring that's tugging can elongate the holes and make earlobes thin and floppy. They'll make you look old at 37." If your piercing holes get really large, you may not even be able to wear certain styles of earrings without their falling out.
"Anything that restricts your full range of motion can create issues," says Shamban. In addition to neck and back pains, you may experience muscle spasms and migraines.
"Humans were meant to walk on a sandy beach-like area or soft jungle grassy-like territory, not on solid concrete, hardwood floors, marble, or asphalt," says Robert Khorramian, DPM, a podiatrist based in Santa Monica, California. "Extensive wear of high heels affects the toes and metatarsal area and destroys the fat pads under the metatarsal, while also causing nerve damage and arthritis in the toes." Add to that the potential for bunions, hammertoes, ankle sprains, and fractures, and you may want to keep heel-wearing to a minimum.
Thought you were safe in flats? Think again. "Thin flat shoes, like popular ballet flats, can also cause the same damage, including destruction of the fat pads and plantar fasciitis and heal spur," says Khorramian. "Flat shoes also don't provide any cushion under the feet, which can cause damage to the musculoskeletal system because there is nothing to absorb the shock when walking." You can also expect knee, hip, and ankle pain.
For more on fashion-related health risks, check out the video below.