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Skinny Jeans A Health Risk?

Are skinny jeans bad for your health?

We've all heard how women have to suffer to be beautiful, but now we've just gone numb from something called "tingling thigh syndrome" or in medical terms, meralgia paresthetica.

"Tingling thigh syndrome" is apparently caused when too-tight jeans compress a nerve that cuts off sensation to the thigh.

The latest fashion victims from skinny jeans are facing a real health concern, CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said on "The Early Show" Thursday.

"It makes sense based on the anatomy and physiology," Ashton said. "We're talking about a nerve that runs through the groin called the femoral cutaneous nerve, and with tight things, even tight jeans, it can become numb down the thighs and into the buttocks."

Ashton likened the nerve compression to what would happen if you stepped on a garden hose.

"If you step on it, and can't get the water, the same thing (happens)."

However, "tingling thigh syndrome" isn't confined to skinny jeans, Ashton said. Surgery, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy and prolonged standing or walking may also result in the same nerve pressure.

"We see this in surgery," Ashton said. "Sometimes when a retractor is placed in the abdomen, people can complain of this."

But skinny jeans are also culprit, Ashton said. And, if you add a pair of stiletto heels that push the pelvis forward, she said, you're causing even more pressure on the nerve.

"It actually makes the angle in your hip a lot more pronounced," she said.

But how can you keep the style -- without the health risk?

Ashton said you can stop wearing skinny jeans, and try leggings as a thinner, more flexible alternative.

"You don't want to be a fashion victim or a fashion patient," she said. "So, if you're noticing (tingling), it's probably time to change your wardrobe."

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