Q: Corsets have been said to cause hemorrhoidal problems - what are your views?
Should their use be avoided by anyone suffering from hemorrhoids? --- Brian (10/28/00).

A: Hemorrhoidal problems can indeed be caused by corseting, but can be avoided. Depending on how the corset molds the body, the stomach will be compressed, as it is one of the organs that can be compressed. When eating habits include slowly digested items that contain fat, there is a risk that acid will escape into the duodenum and cause ulcers there, long term.  Short term, however, the digestive process may be disturbed by partially processed food leaving the stomach, creating an incomplete "foodbolus" that traverses the tract all the way, via the bowel, to the rectum. The stool may then be lightly colored. A burning sensation is experienced and, over time, this can cause swelling of the tissues in this region.

But, as I mentioned, this is avoidable by not consuming certain types of food. Spicy and fatty foods, or coffee, all irritate the stomach. When the wrong foods are consumed, the best short term remedy is anti-acid, which reduces the risk of passing excess acid into the digestive system; but it is only a short term solution. 

If food intake is controlled, there is no risk of these problems. A modern day consideration is that the general diet in the Western world, and especially in the US, is poor; it has very high fat and carbohydrate content. If someone is serious about wearing a tight corset, (s)he should change his or her diet as well, and overall health will improve. I do not mean this as a suggestion to practice extreme tight-lacing, but simply to point out that a moderately (3-5") laced corset with a proper diet offers an overall improvement compared to no corset and a modern day unhealthy diet, although all the benefit is, of course, derived from the improved diet. Corseting appears to give more of an incentive to do so.


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