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Skinny jeans or leggings are an all-time fashion favorite of many millennials. They are cozy and well-fitting and can be worn in every kind of weather.
Yet, if you are one of those women who practically live in skinny jeans, you may be at risk for several health issues. Tight-fitting pants restrict blood flow to the legs and feet. They may also harm the nerves of your feet and lower legs.
A study published in a leading neurology journal recently reported the case of a woman in her 30s who suffered damage to her leg muscles and nerves due to wearing skinny jeans.
She had done some household work for a long time, bending on her knees, all the while wearing tight-fitting jeans. This led to rapid restriction of blood supply to the lower legs. Her ankles were swollen and she found herself unable to walk or get up.
The woman was eventually rushed to the ER where she was diagnosed with damaged nerve and muscle fibers in her legs. (1)
Downsides of Wearing Skinny Jeans
Here is a brief list of the harmful effects of wearing skinny jeans in the long term.
Thrush is a common vaginal yeast infection in women. It can occur when proper hygiene is not maintained in your private parts or wearing tight pants for too long. Symptoms may include itching, irritation, and curdy white discharge from the vagina.
Skinny jeans do not give your vagina any space to breathe, leading to the accumulation of sweat down there. It may be worthwhile to ditch them if you are suffering from repeated bouts of thrush. (2)
2. Meralgia paraesthetica
Skinny pant syndrome, medically known as meralgia paraesthetica, is a form of nerve damage that occurs in the thighs. It is caused by wearing low-waisted skinny jeans that are very tight around the thighs. This can damage the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve in the outer thigh.
3. Skin irritation
Skin irritation is a common side effect of wearing tight clothing. It occurs due to chafing of the skin by fabric and lack of airflow to the skin. It may cause redness, itching, and skin infections.
4. Lipoatrophia semicircularis
Lipoatrophia semicircularis, or ribbed thighs, is a skin condition that causes lesions, itching, and burning on the thighs. Lipoatrophia semicircularis may worsen due to wearing tight jeans or leggings and sitting in one place for too long.
5. Circulatory interruption
Skinny jeans and leggings can restrict blood flow to the legs and feet. This can lead to serious problems in the long term, particularly for people already suffering from other conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and nerve damage. (4)
Tight clothing around the waist can have adverse effects on digestion. High-waisted skinny jeans can be too tight around the stomach area. This can lead to heartburn or acidity due to the regurgitation of stomach acid to the food pipe.
Vulvodynia is a condition that causes chronic pain around the vulva, or outer walls of the vagina. Some studies report that wearing skinny jeans can be a risk factor for developing vulvodynia, vaginal thrush, or other vaginal infections in women.
8. Permanent muscle damage
A neurology journal recently published the case of a woman who suffered from severe muscle damage, or rhabdomyolysis, due to squatting in skinny jeans. This occurs due to decreased blood flow to the leg muscles while wearing tight pants. (5)(6)
9. Infertility in men
Men who wear skinny jeans are at risk of testicular torsion, or twisting of the testicles. This can be very harmful to the testicles and can lead to decreased sperm count or infertility.
10. Blood clotting
Poor blood flow may increase the risk of blood clots, especially in people already suffering from conditions such as clotting disorders (e.g., thrombocytosis), hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. (7)
11. Intertrigo/tinea cruris
Fungal infections in the groin area such as tinea and intertrigo (rash between folds of skin) can be caused and aggravated by wearing tight jeans due to the excessive accumulation of sweat in this area and lack of proper air circulation.
Skinny jeans, high heels, tight ponytails, etc., are fashion trends that do not pose a major health risk when worn occasionally, but they can be harmful when overdone.