For centuries, women have used constraining undergarments to contour their bodies for a desired, shapely appearance. Recently, the search for a slimmer waist has sparked a resurgence in the use of corsets to attain an unnatural hourglass figure. While celebrities like Kim Kardashian have become proponents of waist training to reduce the size of their midsections, many share the concern that the constricting garments can be dangerous to women’s health.
“How can this possibly be healthy?!” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork exclaims while trying to squeeze into a corset on stage.
Dr. Travis adds that by constricting the midsection of the body, you could potentially harm the major internal organs that reside in that region.
“When you press those inward, what can’t happen? Your diaphragm, which allows your lungs to expand and contract, can’t do its job,” he says.
Urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman adds that the garments can affect food intake and cause digestive problems.
Family medicine physician Dr. Rachael Ross, who says she has used a shaper in the past, advises women to use the garments in moderation.
Dr. Travis adds that corsets should definitely not be worn to the gym or during vigorous exercise.
“It doesn’t help you lose weight. If anything, if you wear it too tight, you’re not allowing your body’s natural core musculature to develop,” he says.