Q: I have recently started to wear a corset and, following the advice found on someone's website (name withheld), purchased a ribbon corset from Axfords. Following the basic instruction, the one that I purchased was 4" less than my natural waist. It's been taken in about 3" (one inch to go) over the past month with very little discomfort (if any). It does tend to push my fat (intestines?) down, though, giving me a belly and not a stomach (unfortunately a genetically "programmed" one). I have been wearing this (very committed) all the time. I do wonder, though, if the "belly" is normal (could it be due the "ribbon" style and that it wouldn't occur with a longer corset?). I also have slightly elevated blood (no medication required though) pressure and it might be the reason there is some edema in my ankles. I do fear asking a doctor about this, though, as (s)he will probably just tell me to stop, out of sheer prejudice against the corset and not from actual knowledge. At this point I don't know if I'm doing the right thing or whether or not I should stop. I have been committed, but also taking it slow. I am concerned, though, about the health issues mentioned above. I'm completely unaware of the problems this could cause even if taking things slowly. --- Camille

A: A (too) tightly laced corset, even though of a short ribbon type, might interfere with your blood circulation and decrease the free return of venous blood from the body to the heart. Your swollen ankles are indicating such an effect, although the symptoms certainly may occur without corsetting or have other reasons. Generally, however, your slightly elevated blood pressure indicates that you have to be careful. Again a lightly to moderately laced corset doesn't necessarily mean harm, but take care and regularly consult your doctor. Of course, between your medical check-ups you can measure the blood pressure yourself - several devices are available for that purpose. What I have said expresses generalities and does not take into consideration individual variations. I also recommend thaty you discuss with your doctor your need of wearing a corset - I am sure that he will accept that you feel it is good for your back, anyhow. Regarding the ribbon style vs. longer corsets: The former will push down the fat and intestines. Meeting no resistance the result will be a more or less pronounced belly; actually this type of corset was designed for slim persons only. A long busk will certainly give much better control.  If the lower part of the busk is curved and broadens (a so-called spoon busk) it will be ideal to shape a well-controlled, nicely rounded belly under the wasp waist, keeping the wearer comfortable without too much pressure.


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