Medical Question #43

MEDICAL ADVICE FROM

DR. ANN BEAUMONT


Q: I have been regularly wearing corsets for some 6 years now (20/7 on the  average). There have been times where I over-laced and ate, and as a result, induced heartburn. Loosening the laces to a reasonable level (2" waist reduction) has always been a remedy that worked. Prior to corset wearing, I had these same problems, only the problems were from over-indulging and being overweight.  Since corseting regularly, I've managed to keep my weight at around 170 lbs. I'm male, 5'6" tall, and stay in good shape from bike riding and rollerblading (not while corseted).  I've recently been diagnosed with a mild case of GERD. Are my corseting days over? Even if I only reduce my waist by no more than 2"? I ask this because through corseting, I've been able to maintain my weight where I want it by limiting my food intake. I sure would miss the wonderful back support that my corset provides. I would like to add that, since this diagnosis,
I've not experienced any ill effects so long as the corset is laced at no more  than a 2" waist reduction. If you say I'm done wearing corsets, then I'll have to accept it and move on. I sure hope this isn't the case, as corseting has become a rather important part of my lifestyle. -- Charlie (7/14/03)


A: GERD, or Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, is the result of stomach acid being pushed up past the sphincter (valve between the esophagus and the stomach), causing discomfort, and potential deterioration with frequent occurrence. The acid reflux as a result of increased IAP (intra abdominal pressure) is not acceptable and must be addressed. The approach, however, is to allow the esophagus to heal properly without any corseting.  At the same time, the foods that relax the sphincter have to be removed completely from the diet -- these are the traditional sphincter relaxants, such as chocolate, coffee, mint, spicy foods. Allow several weeks, and use a suitable antacid for this, then gradually return to light corseting and determine if you have solved your problem (dietary change). But you have to be your own guide. Without sufficient healing time the problem will quickly return due to incomplete healing.

In general any kind of irritations need to be allowed sufficient healing time, usually weeks or months, before slowly establishing a new threshold, while correcting habits that lower tolerance. This can be GERD, but also applies to constipation or skin irritation. Habit change and sufficient healing time are the key. A healthy body can accept corseting without issue; however, if signals
are ignored or not immediately addressed, it will aggravate and then call for longer healing times.

Q:  I have GERD, and am wondering if I can corset.  -- Erica (10/26/04)

A: Depending on what the surgery entailed, you will have to progress slowly and carefully, although an hourglass style, such as those promoted by C&S in general, puts less pressure on the stomach than a classic funnel shape. If you do prefer that style, you will have to proceed very slowly and observe the reaction of your stomach. Note that when sitting slouched, the stomach is compressed to a similar degree and if you can tolerate this, you should be fine. I would suggest however to query your physician about your recuperation status and general stomach condition. In addition, make sure you listen to your own body. If heartburn is provoked with minimal excitation from food or physical activity, I suggest to limit any corseting to just one or two inches. If you don't experience any issues, you can gradually advance, but with caution. Acid reflux is often triggered by consumption of certain types of food (coffee, chocolate, mint, spicy foods, fatty foods) and in your case should be avoided regardless.

(7/25/03, 10/28/04)-43


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