From BME Encyclopedia
A reader submitted the following information:
- "By constricting the waist to such an extreme extent, your internal organs can discontort (change shape and placement) around each other to accommodate the corset. This problem was common place with those women who sported such fashions in the Victorian era. Symptoms can follow as an extreme pain (located deeply inside your belly) while wearing the corset. The other and most prevalent are post-binding is a searing pain from your stomach and chest. This can most often be remedied by removal of corset but occasionally and most severely, surgery may be used to 'straighten' everything out.
- I my self am a rampant collector and displayer of corsets. As a little girl I always thought the women of the Victorian era were beautiful and so graceful. I adored the look of corsets and the feeling of them sculpting my already curvy figure into a marble statuesque Barbie body.
- I gradually worked my way up from a store bought corset (to be used as a casual top) to a custom tailored brocade corset. I had the custom one specially stitched with a triple thick cotton inside, so it could with-stand the trials of tightening the stays.
- Immediately after going from a size 13 waist to a 10, I felt the impact of intestinal contortion. I was short of breath and had to take the hour of wearing, easy. No fast movements. I have fainted from wearing corsets. After pushing my body to the limits (an amazing size 4) I had built up a slight resistance to the effects of doing such.
- I have got to stress the note that one should never submit themselves to extreme corsetry/binding straight off the bat. You should build up to it. Like stretching a piercing, you should start small then work up to the big stuff, or in this case vice versa!"
Another reader submitted the following addition,
- "The internal organs are much softer than the bones in the rib cage, and can be forced to a much greater degree. The lungs, for example, can be crushed to the point where the miraculous little sacs that collect oxygen for the body's use will not inflate. The stomach can be squeezed down to a flat little envelope that will accept very little food, resulting in heartburn and indigestion. The bladder can be kept to a very small size resulting, of course, in reduced capacity. All of the major organs in the torso are eventually affected by this phenomenon, and in every case their function will be impaired.
- The total effect of an overlapping rib cage and compressed internal organs would be of extreme discomfort and of uncertain health. Women who haplessly followed the fashion trends in the heyday of the corset often found themselves spending a great deal of time with their physicians. Many doctors tried unsuccessfully to convince their patients to loosen their laces as a way of relieving their aches and pains, but women were often as fondly attached to their corsets as some modern women are to their make-up. These women demanded pills, powders, and potions to relieve their discomforts. The effect on women of multiple medications on top of the existing difficulties caused by their corsets can only be imagined."