Suffering for fashion

Nathan Smith

     They are popular among guys and girls alike, and they have been becoming more and more popular ever since the 1960s – Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marlon Brando wore them as symbols of rebellion.  They are commonly called skinny jeans, and, for those who are unaware, they are essentially suffocating, denim pants.  But, while they may be becoming more and more fashionable with every passing decade, there’s a danger looming in this article of clothing.  Before hopping into a pair of skinny jeans, you should probably consider a quick crash course in the health of the human body.

     Although skinny jeans project the idea of a healthy body and a thin frame, disorder after disorder have been popping up all around the community of tight pant wearers.

     One of the most common issues arising from skin-tight pants is meralgia paresthetica (MP), a neural condition caused by high pressure on the major nerve in the thighs that causes an intense burning and an uncomfortable tingling sensation.  The damage of this nerve – and the artery running adjacent to it – can cause problems with mobility, ending in a deterioration of locomotion.  As this tendon and artery press against each other, they begin to slide on each other’s surfaces, creating a friction that can cause more damage than before.

     Then there’s the ironic danger, lipoatrophia semicircularis.  There are countless commercials that challenge people to lose weight so that they can become “skinny jeans confident,” but after all of that weight-loss you end up with this deforming condition.  Lipoatrophia semicircularis appears when enough pressure is applied to the flesh of the thighs and legs that the subcutaneous tissue actually begins to atrophy in spots, causing odd divots and depressions in the skin.  These divots can even lead to hindrances in the circulatory system, preventing the passage of blood to other tissues in the body.

     Snug pants have shown to be able to cause a host of many other diseases, like bladder and yeast infections and even blood clots.  But, arguably, one of the most serious afflictions that can be caused from these jeans is fertility problems in both men and women.  The constriction of the areas that the jeans cover can cause what is called genital heat stress (GHS), which is about as fun as it sounds.  As the name suggests, this leads to a prickly heat in the area in question, and in the most serious of cases this could lead to more serious issues.  Just one of these issues that could accompany GHS is the atrophy of crucial tissues and systems in the vicinity.

     Although skinny jeans are not exactly a loaded gun for anyone who wears them, they can and have proven dangerous.  And, while there are exceptions to the dangers of this clothing, it may be best to let this fashion trend come and go.

     But for those of you who refuse to hear the cold truth, there is a way to avoid these deforming conditions.  Doctors recommend checking for two things when wearing skinny jeans.  First, if it’s a struggle to fit into the pants – e.g. wrestling on the ground to pull a pair of jeans over just the waist – looser jeans should be considered.  Second, for those who make it into skinny jeans, slide a thick marker into the pocket; if the pants are still comfortable and not constraining with the marker in the pocket, the pants are sufficiently loose for the legs.

     The fact of the matter is that not all trends are good for the body.  But, as history has shown us, humans are nothing without their free agency.  Next time you consider sliding into a pair of skinny jeans, though, check for what the doctors recommend, and remember that you only get one body.