Thongs, skinny jeans and other clothes that might be unhealthy for you

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Unhealthy Clothes (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES)
Unhealthy Clothes (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES)

When you get dressed in the morning, what goes through your mind?

Things like, do these pants make my bum look big? Does this dress flatter my body shape? Do these colours work together? All important questions, but did you know your clothing can also affect your health?

Medical research has highlighted potential dangers associated with certain items of clothing, and although they’re unlikely to kill you, they can present problems for your internal organs, nerves and muscles.

Here’s a look at how some clothing items can have a negative impact on your overall wellbeing.

SKINNY JEANS

We all love those figure-hugging threads that make us look slimmer and trimmer, but some can exert too much pressure on our bodies.

Tight-fitting jeans can cause numbness around your legs and thighs and cause damage to nerves and muscles. In extreme cases, skinny jeans have been known to lead to a condition called compartment syndrome, which is caused by pressure build-up from internal bleeding or swelling of tissues. Skinny jeans should be avoided by those suffering from urinary tract infections, doctors say, and they have been linked to making heartburn worse.

And men, be warned – skinny jeans can lead to twisted testicles. Ouch! They’re also not recommended when partners are trying for a baby, as high temperatures may negatively affect sperm production. The risks are small, but it might be good to opt for a looser pair of trousers every now and then.

BODY SHAPERS

That impossibly smooth look you get from these little wonders comes at a price. As they squeeze your bulgy bits in, they put pressure on your internal organs. Worn over long periods of time, body shapers may lead to heartburn, nerve damage, gastrointestinal problems and even blood clots, which can be deadly.

 Research has also linked these super-tight undergarments to a fall in the levels of melatonin you produce. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, so you may have problems nodding off. Again, there’s no need to panic. The formula is simple – the tighter your clothing, the more damage you’re likely to suffer – so be sensible.

THONGS

You might want to think twice about slipping into one of these after reading this. Bacteria is a problem down there, and a thong’s design means it’s prone to slippage – the thin part at the back often creeps up to the front, transferring any nasties from your rear and causing an infection. If you already have an infection – like thrush, for example – definitely steer clear of this type of underwear.

Thongs have also been closely linked with the development of haemorrhoids (piles), which is characterised by swelling of veins in the anus, causing discomfort and bleeding. Medical experts advise taking care when choosing the fabric of your underwear, especially if you’re suffering from problems down there. Avoid nylon, silk and satin, which increase moisture, reduce circulation of air in the vulval region, and allow bacteria to grow. Cotton is your best option – a bit boring perhaps but it is breathable and absorbent.

FLIP FLOPS

Oh so easy and comfortable, but these slip-ons have been linked to a host of physical problems, like plantar fasciitis (inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes), sore muscles and lower back pain. Most people clench their toes when they wear flip-flops, in order to keep them on their feet, but this can lead to posture problems.

It can start out as stress on the arch, heel and rest of the foot, and eventually lead to pain in the hips, legs and lower back. You don’t have to throw them away just yet, but doctors recommend you don’t wear them for hours on end. And make sure they fit well.

BRAS

Lots of research has been done on these. And the bottom line is that most of us – 80% according to studies – are wearing the wrong size bra. One British study found it’s best not to wear a bra at all. It suggested breast cancer is a problem only in cultures where women wear bras.

This could be because tight ones could cause congestion in the lymph nodes, which are a vital part of the immune system and the body’s first line of defence against the spread of cancer. However, most studies say it’s more important to find one that supports your body correctly, particularly if you have big boobs. A lack of support can lead to breathing and posture problems as muscles in your back, neck and shoulders take strain.

 That doesn’t mean we should all be wearing sports bras. Although they’re important to avoid damaging the breast’s ligaments when exercising, they can also provide too much support if worn on a regular basis and prevent the ribcage from working properly. And underwire? Not a problem if it fits correctly – the wire should sit behind the breast tissue, not on it

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