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  • Writer's pictureNikki

Why you might have a B Belly: the Truth about Hourglass Syndrome

Updated: 4 days ago

I would like to start this blog post with, I am not a doctor and this is not to treat or diagnose any medical condition, Im simply sharing information I have gathered over the past year about this subject and sharing it with you. Always seek your doctor when talking about medical conditions you might be concerned about.

So you've probably heard the suggestion that your B Belly came from wearing your pants too tight while you were growing up or even as an adult, and you're wondering how true this. This theory is a MYTH! There is no actual evidence that this can happen or cause any significant damage to your abdomen. Pants are not corsets. More on this in a second...

One thing you could have done to cause your B Belly however is Hourglass Syndrome, where muscle distortion is caused by chronic stomach sucking. This can not only cause a B Belly, but the appearance of what some describe as "second boobs" just under the rib cage.

Dispelling the B-Belly Myth: Contrary to popular belief, there is no substantial evidence to support the notion that wearing tight pants causes the formation of a B-belly. Body shape and fat distribution are primarily influenced by genetics, hormones, and overall lifestyle, rather than clothing choices. It is important to understand that the appearance of a B-belly is more likely associated with conditions such as lipedema or the Hourglass Syndrome, which we will explore further.

Understanding the Hourglass Syndrome: The Hourglass Syndrome describes habitually holding in, or “sucking in,” the stomach region. This action pulls in the lower ribs and gives the waist a smaller, hourglass shape. It is not an official diagnosis. HS can occur due to an underlying pain condition or as a result of poor posture.

This is called Stomach Gripping. “Stomach gripping is the process of repeatedly and extensively contracting the muscles of your upper abdomen in order to pull your stomach up and in,” explains chiropractor Adam Browning, DC. “It can alter the movement patterns of your abdominal muscles, which leads to imbalances known as ‘hourglass syndrome.’”

Hourglass syndrome isn’t the same as having an hourglass figure — and hourglass syndrome can be both painful and problematic.

Stomach gripping activates three different types of abdominal muscles: “In each case, the muscles you contract increase intraabdominal pressure and push your lungs and stomach contents higher into your rib cage,” Dr. Browning explains.

The more you grip your stomach muscles, the more you train them to malfunction!

Stomach gripping can cause breathing issues, neck and back pain, acid reflux, and pelvic floor problems like urine leakage during everyday activities like laughing, coughing or sneezing.

If you tend to do these things or have in the past it can be a major cause of hourglass syndrome:

  • Spend a lot of time “sucking it in.”

  • Obsess over trying to flatten your stomach.

  • Focus on ab workouts more than other body regions or muscle groups

(This is Nikki Garza AKA itsnikki.g from TikTok, and she has severe results from stomach gripping while growing up!)

Stomach Gripping can also lead to what some people refer to as "second boobs" just below the rib cage. This doesn't happen to everyone that has hourglass syndrome, and it's not the only thing that causes them, but they can be a sign.

Is there anyway to reverse the negative effects associated with the Hourglass Syndrome? It is important to focus on healthy habits:

  1. Embrace Body Neutrality: Instead of fixating on specific body shapes, it is crucial to embrace body neutrality and see the diversity of body types. Each person's body is unique in its own way.

  2. Posture Correction: Physical therapy can help identify and address postural imbalances that contribute to stomach gripping. A physical therapist can assess your posture and provide exercises and stretches to improve alignment and strengthen the core muscles. This may involve exercises targeting the abdominal, back, and hip muscles to promote better posture and alleviate strain on the abdominal area.

  3. Core Strengthening: A strong core is essential for maintaining proper posture and supporting the abdominal area. Physical therapists can guide you through exercises that target the deep core muscles, such as the transverse abdominis, which can help improve core stability and reduce the tendency to grip or suck in the stomach. This may include exercises like planks, pelvic tilts, and gentle abdominal contractions.

  4. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Proper breathing techniques can help relax the abdominal muscles and reduce the habit of stomach gripping. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or deep breathing, involves inhaling deeply through the nose, allowing the diaphragm to fully expand, and exhaling slowly through the mouth. This type of breathing encourages relaxation of the abdominal muscles, alleviating tension and promoting better overall breathing patterns.

  5. Relaxation Techniques: Incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine can help reduce stress, tension, and the tendency to grip or suck in the stomach. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or gentle stretching can promote overall relaxation and help alleviate symptoms associated with stomach gripping.

So there you have it, just a few more reasons you might have a B Belly. It's important to remember, that no matter the reason, your B Belly is not something to be ashamed of. If you have a medical condition, like insulin resistance, that should be addressed, address it because of your health, not because of the way your physical body LOOKS! We always want to encourage taking care of your health, but NO ONES health can be determined by looking at them. No one!! Always remember that, and keep your confidence high!



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