By Roshini Rajapaksa, MD
Updated September 07, 2001
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Q:How tight would jeans have to be to cause internal damage?

A:In general, tight jeans can lead to health annoyances, but not damage. Too snug denim can cause vaginal irritation and may put pressure on the bladder, which could bring on a UTI. Form-fitting blues could also rub your skin and cause an uncomfortable irritation or inflammation. Beyond that, very tight jeans can affect your intestine's ability to expand and contract normally (like with eating or drinking). That can be very uncomfortable as well, but it probably won't lead to permanent damage.

Strange but true: There have been cases of tingling and numbness when nerves are trapped or cut off because of tight jeans. This is known as Tingling Thigh Syndrome-a compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which runs across the outside of your thigh. High heels might make it worse because they throw the pelvis forward, compressing the nerve even more. But this is incredibly rare.

Bottom line: Your clothes shouldn't cause you pain. If your jeans do, buy a bigger pair. Or try 'jeggings,' comfy leggings disguised as skinny jeans.

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