Can Shapewear Damage Your Organs?

By ABC News

Jan 22, 2014 9:52am

ABC News’ Cecilia Vega reports:

A-listers swear by them on and off the red carpet. They’re even one of Oprah’s favorite things.

Shapewear is such a staple for so many women.  It sucks you  in, smoothes you out, flattens and squeezes, but could wearing it prove bad for your health?

“If you’re feeling any numbness, those are very clear signs that it’s in fact too tight,”  Dr. Leah Rothman, a  general practitioner, told ABC News. “Take it off. Don’t wait until the end of the event. It’s not worth it.”

Some doctors say shapewear that is too tight can squeeze internal organs, cause digestive problems, affect breathing and cause bladder and bacterial infections.

Maressa Brown’s doctor told her the shapewear she wore to so many special occasions, even her own wedding, was to blame for her severe stomach pains.

“The shapewear is compressing you so much and you try to enjoy yourself and eat and drink and dance, and that sent me to the doctor,” said Brown, a staff writer for

Whether you are a one pair wearer, like Bridget Jones, or a fan of multiple layers, like Octavia Spencer, don’t worry. You don’t have to trade them in.

“The thing to think about are buying the appropriate size,” Rothman said, as well as “wearing occasionally, not every day.”

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