Q: A previous writer in Nov 1997 expressed concern over the effect corset wearing might have on hypertension. Simplified, the advice from Dr. Stern was to be careful and check with your doctor. In addition, a disclaimer is included on the bottom of the LISA Medical Advice page. 

Presently, I have controlled hypertension averaging about 135/80. Hypertensive medications include 4mg of an alpha blocker per day and 5mg of a calcium channel blocker per day. Also, I am an over 50 crossdressing male, about 6 ft tall and 210 lb. Corset wearing is intermittent but would average to about once a week for about 4-6 hours. To achieve a more feminine figure, moderate to what feels like tight lacing is used on the corset. This tension results in a 2-4 inch waist reduction from the normal 39 inch waist. The "new" feminine waist is about one inch above the belly button. So far the only side effects observed have been 

1) Infrequent indigestion while wearing the corset 
2) a belly bulge as described in the Nov 97 letter and 
3) a reduced appetite while wearing the corset. The appetite returns after removing the corset, which has raised the thought that perhaps, whenever possible, such as on weekends, the corset should be worn all day. If the reduced appetite were carried through long enough, perhaps the weight loss would help the hypertension and the extended belly.

It should also be mentioned that a diagnosis of acid reflux and hiatial hernia have been made. Pepcid is used to control the acid reflux on a daily basis the amount varying as needed from 10-40mg per day. The indigestion does not seem to be closely related to the corset wearing unless the corset is pulled very tight. Most instances of "heartburn" occur not while corseted, but rather after consuming certain foods, i.e. chocolate.

Would appreciate your thoughts regarding the effect corseting may have on the hypertension in this case and if you see any potential problems should there be a desire to increase the wearing time. Also if you see any problems or have any additional suggestions (beyond those in your "Corseting the Human Body" article) in regard to the indigestion and corseting they too would be most welcome.
--Janet (8/13/00)

A: Hypertension is not directly associated with the mechanical effects of corseting; however, when occasional use is practiced, the excitement of it will cause blood pressure to increase. Continuous wear does not have this effect, although, again, any form of arousal from doing so, even for continuous wearers, will cause some temporary increase. In your case, with an indicated treatment, you should monitor your pressure every half hour and note the trends. If pressures do not return to 5 to 10 points within an hour, you should relax the constriction. Especially since you are not a consistent wearer, you need to moderate the constriction. Moderate, but longer wear should certainly help desensitize your system. 

The corset will indeed suppress your appetite and, in itself, this is normal. However, there are certain types of food you must avoid. Coffee, tea, mint and chocolate all tend to relax the sphincter, which, together with the increased pressure on the stomach, can or will cause heartburn. Two things to do: Do not consume these foods within 12 hours of wearing a corset, and second, relax the laces on the top half of the corset. Perhaps use an additional separate lace for the top four eyelet pairs and allow more expansion above the waist.

The abdominal bulge indicates that you have limited muscle tone in the abdominal wall and you should use a corset that is longer below the waist. Apparently, the corset you are wearing does not distribute the pressure evenly over a large enough region.

Indigestion can occur as a result of the lack of abdominal support, causing part of the intestines to become cramped under the lower edge of the corset; again a longer corset (longer below the waist) should help this. Also, with the waist tight-laced, allowances should be made to let the chest and abdomen expand, especially when you are not continuously figure training. Continuous wear allows for adaptation, whereas a few hours per week does not do so. 


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