Report: How Spanx Can Harm Your Health

May 14, 2014 | Parenting, Weight Loss

While shapewear might be the most selling undergarment in the lingerie department for women in their 30s, 40s and 50s, its health ramifications are often bypassed. Sure spanx promise to give smooth garment lines and a visibly streamlined lower torso, are they secretly hurting our bodies?

This alarming report posted in The Huffington Post says so.

Stomach and Lower Torso

The entire purpose of shapewear is to compress the stomach, lower torso and butt area with a constricting garment, and by doing so it leaves your stomach, intestine and colon compressed which can cause acid reflux and heartburn. There’s a whole reason why when people eat too much, they are tempted to unbuckle their jeans. Similarly, if you compress your intestine area for too long, in a superficial manner, it causes the flow of digestion to stifle and can cause bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort. But it’s not just the lower torso that’s affected – when you inhale and exhale, the diaphragm is naturally meant to expand and the abdomen flares out; with shapewear, that movement is restricted, hence resulting in shallow breath.


If you suffer from IBS or general bowel issues, then shapewear will only harm it further, says research. Chiropractor Dr. Karen Erickson notes that shapewear have the tendency to make you not go to the toilet, as they constrict the area, so all this pressure on the bladder and the bowels can exaggerate stress down there.

Numbness in legs and bad posture

The giant rubber bands and elastic holding on to the upper thigh, stomach and bum area can lead to tingling, numbness or pain in your legs. There have been studies conducted where women are left with lower back pain or shooting pain going down their legs post wearing spanx for over four hours. In more serious cases, the rubber band effect can lead to blood clots in the lower part of the body.

Shapewear doesn’t promise a good posture, if anything it forces you to not use your muscles to maintain the right posture with the help of elastic bands.

Infections in the nether region

While spanx are ultimately giant underwears, the construction of shapewear traps moisture in, causing the wearer to suffer from hygiene-related infection like yeast or bacteria. The most common infection reported in the article is folliculitis that causes red puss-filled bumps (which can get antibiotic resistant, means harder to treat, over time).


It’s not all bad news for women who do feel the need to wear spanx or shapewear every now and then. If you pick the right style, the correct size and one that fits you well without constricting your body too much, then wearing spanx on occasion is OK. However, if you suffer from acid reflux or heartburn, then avoid wearing full-body spanx.

Simple rule of buying spanx and knowing it’s the right size and shape?

If you can get in and out of it without a struggle or facial expression change, you’ve got the right size.
What are your thoughts on spanx? Love them or loathe them? 


Enter your email to receive a free Snack Attack Ebook full of healthy, simple & delicious recipes.


Enter your email to receive a free Snack Attack Ebook full of healthy, simple & delicious recipes.

Thanks for subscribing!

Pin It on Pinterest