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Don't Do the Tighten Up

Women — and men — beware! Skinny jeans may be hazardous to your health

skinny jeans
Wearing too-tight skinny jeans can lead to abdominal discomfort, heartburn and even permanent nerve damage.
Spanx ladies' under garment hose
Spanx are another super-tight clothing culprit and can also cause discomfort and health problems.
skinny jeans
Spanx ladies' under garment hose

Are you a fan of Spanx or skinny jeans? It turns out that wearing them might actually do more harm to your health than good to your figure.

"When you're wearing skinny jeans to make yourself skinny that's not the point," Dr. Nicholas Morrissey, vascular surgeon with Columbia University Medical Center, told CBS Interactive. "Skinny jeans are meant to accentuate the way you look, not to make yourself look another way."

 "Clothing isn't designed to give us a shape that we don't have, and that's where people get in trouble." 

"Clothing isn't designed to give us a shape that we don't have, and that's where people get in trouble," Morrissey added.

A common complaint among wearers of super-tight clothing is a numbing sensation down one's thigh. Known as meralgia paresthetica, this numbness is due to the highly constrictive nature of certain clothing items such as Spanx and skinny jeans.

While the condition alone isn't harmful to your health, Morrissey says that repeated episodes can lead to permanent nerve damage.

Dr. John Michael Li, a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center, told CBS Miami that some people experience "tight pants syndrome." Symptoms include abdominal discomfort, heartburn and belching from wearing extremely tight pants — typically three inches too small for the individual's waist.

Testicular torsion - Ouch!

It may come as a surprise, but it's not just women who should worry about wearing too-tight pants.

Morrissey indicated that wearing skinny jeans can cause a testicular torsion in men, where a testicle becomes twisted on itself. An untreated torsion could lead to a loss of blood circulation and can even cause the testicle to die. Although cases of testicular torsion have been reported as a result of tight clothing, none been severe enough that a man has lost a testicle. Typically the condition is very painful and individuals seek help almost immediately, Morrissey said.

So if you're a fan of super-tight clothing, you might want to do yourself — and your health — a favor and go up a size or two.

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