Corsets are back and they are unlikely to go out of style anytime soon. The fashion favourite is typically made from constrictive firm materials which are worn to flatten the abdomen and shave inches off the female waistline to achieve that hourglass or Coca-Cola bottle contour. They can be worn as undergarments, over clothes (e.g corset belts) or even sewn within a fabric.
Like skin bleaching, many of our trendy lifestyle choices often have harmful effects on the body. The question now is Can Corsets Harm The Body In Any Way? The simple answer is yes.
How Corsets Affect The Body
Corsets can cause some of the following.
1. Digestive problems.
Corsets are firm, so they compress the abdomen. But since the abdomen is not protected by bone anteriorly (in front), the compression can be tight enough to squeeze internal organs like the stomach and intestines. When this happens, food cannot easily pass through the digestive canal. So digestion can become hindered and cause bloating.
In addition., the build-up of pressure within the stomach can cause stomach acid to flow upwards into the esophagus and lead to heart burn.
2. Breathing problems
Compressing your abdomen can also affect your breathing.
Have you noticed how the abdomen moves up and down during breathing? This happens because of the movement of the diaphragm.
The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity and it moves up and down with every breath. It is this movement that makes the abdomen to move with respiration. Now, when you compress your abdomen firmly, it doesn’t have enough freedom to move during breathing. This resultant restriction limits how well the diaphragm can move.
All these restrictions can cause insufficient air entry into the lungs, leading to shortness of breath or even fainting spells. Cutting off air entry into your body is definitely not ideal.
3. Changes to ribcage
Historical records from England’s Royal College of Surgeons show that prolonged corset wearing can change the anatomy of the rib cage overtime, and permanently reduce the space within the abdomen.
With prolonged use of corsets and its implications on digestion, the wearer may develop poor nutrition overtime.
When food is not properly digested, important nutrients cannot be absorbed into the body and this will lead to other health complications.
Are Corsets Safe?
Although corseting has the potential to harm the body, it is not entirely bad.
The health effects we have discussed are more likely to happen when corsets are used in an extreme manner.
Your corset is likely to harm you when it is:
- uncomfortably tight;
- worn for longer than a few hours; and
- worn very frequently.
The tighter and longer you wear it, the more likely it is to harm you.
Moderation is key! Wearing a corset once in a while is unlikely to cause any serious health problems.
Before we go, let’s dispel some corseting myths, shall we?
Corset Myths Debunked
Myth– Corsets will help you lose belly fat
Fat is excess calories stored in the body. The only way to get rid of fat is by using it up through healthy dieting and exercise. You can also trim excess belly fat surgically with procedures like liposuction.
Corsets will only help you ‘lose’ belly fat temporarily; once you take it off, all ‘lost’ belly fat returns instantly!
Myth- Corseting can make a baby deformed
Two things can deform a growing fetus: a genetic problem and direct compression on the baby e.g., when the umbilical cord forms a ring around a part of the baby’s body.
Although corsets exert pressure on the pregnant abdomen, the pressure is INDIRECT. The fetus is always protected.
For example, before the 12th week of pregnancy, the uterus (womb) is usually still within the pelvis. Therefore, wearing a corset in the first trimester of pregnancy is unlikely to exert any pressure on the baby because the womb will be protected within the pelvic bone. In addition, babies grow within a sac of fluid (amniotic fluid) inside the uterus. This covering provides extra protection against external pressure on the baby.
However, we do not advise that you wear a corset during pregnancy. Steering clear of constrictive garments will be more comfortable and better for both the mother and child.
A Word From HealthFacts
In a bid to keep up with fashion trends, it is important to keep your body safe. Just as in most other scenarios, moderation is key in corseting.