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: Discussing Osteoporosis: How Changes in the Body can be More than Just Physical

Discussing Osteoporosis: How Changes in the Body can be More than Just Physical

Global Content Strategist

Living with a chronic condition such as osteoporosis can be challenging on a lot of levels. Much has been researched and published about the causes, treatment options, and lifestyle effects of this condition. One aspect, however, oftentimes goes unaddressed: how the changing appearance brought about through osteoporosis affects what clothes one can wear.

Appearance is important to many people, especially women, and how we feel about our bodies can affect aspects of our daily lives. For many, clothes are a key component to feeling good and conveying confidence. However, as the body is impacted by the effects of osteoporosis, an increased sense of self-consciousness may occur.

Osteoporosis causes a slow breakdown of bones, and its effects may include loss of height, curved spine, and protruding abdomen. Clothes may no longer fit properly-the hem may hike up or the back of a blouse may stick out. Ultimately, the clothes may not even be comfortable to wear. Here are some tips people with osteoporosis may want to consider.

While shopping for new clothes (or having existing garments altered), think about …

  • Silhouette
    • Test out looser fitting garments; these adjust to the body's shape. These don't have to be shapeless garments but rather items they are not too closely-cut that can make a fashionable statement and still be comfortable for the wearer.
  • Neckline and sleeves
    • Experiment with soft necklines. The neckline and its shape affect how the rest of a garment drapes on the body. Looser necklines, such as a soft cowl, are visually pleasing on all body shapes.
    • Go for sleeves that adapt easily to any shape. For instance, a top with dolman sleeves will allow for great comfort.
  • Bottoms
    • Choose items with an elastic or adjustable waist. Don't hesitate to try on maternity slacks or skirts, as they are expandable and take on the shape of the body. The styles are modern and nobody will guess what you are wearing.

If your budget is limited, you can still make considerable updates …

So, go to your closet and take a look at the garments and accessories you already have. Although osteoporosis may have altered the shape of your body, your comfort and confidence do not have to suffer. Updating your closet may be a nice opportunity to reconsider your style and to ultimately boost your self-esteem.

Ultimately, we shouldn't be afraid to talk about how osteoporosis makes many women feel differently about their bodies, and that includes how they feel about how osteoporosis makes them look. Taking a few minutes to help a woman find clothing that fits her changing body can help boost her confidence and help her to see that she is beautiful both inside and out. It's not traditional health communication, but it's communication at its core.

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The Healthy(ist) blog is a platform to share, learn about, and debate topics related to public and social health, scientific research, health communications, and behavior change.
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