Shapewear garments, such as Spanx and other similar, stretchable body shaper brands, have been utilized by countless women to obtain a smooth and seamless look under clothes. However, health experts are saying that the slimming undergarments can lead to bodily harm and squeezing of internal organs, symptoms often associated with older versions used to slim the body, such as girdles and corsets.

“Health experts have known for decades that frequent use of constricting undergarments can cause negative health issues to arise,” commented Daniel Nigh, a product liability lawyer with the Levin, Papantonio law firm.

Shapewear is meant to be worn tight on the body to provide a smooth and slimming finish. However, a size too small can cause the organs to literally be squeezed, compressing the intestines, stomach, and colon, according to gastroenterologist, Dr. John Kuemmerle; dermatologist, Dr. Maryann Mikhail; and chiropractor, Dr. Karen Erickson, three medical experts interviewed by the Huffington Post on the issue.

Wearing multiple shapewear garments at a time have also become a popular trend, especially among celebrities. But according to neurologist, Orly Avitzur, MD, a medical advisor for Consumer Reports, wearing multiple shapewear garments at a time can not only compress the organs, but can cause nerve and respiratory issues, which are the result of shapewear constricting the abdominal region and the diaphragm.

Dr. Kuemmerle and Dr. Erickson both point out that frequent shapewear use may cause meralgia paresthetica, a condition that results from the compression of the thigh’s peripheral nerve, as well as numbness and tingling in the leg, incontinence, yeast and bacterial infections of the skin, and worsened acid reflux, which could lead to erosive esophagitis, reported the Huffington Post.

The health symptoms associated with shapewear use can usually be resolved once the user stops wearing the garment. However, repeated episodes of symptoms during use of the garments could potentially cause permanent damage, and consumers are urged to limit their use of shapewear to minimize risks.

Krysta is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow her on Twitter @KrystaLoera.