Lower back pain, heartburn, rashes and constipation: can be wearing the wrong belt cause all these health problems?

Wearers sometimes have no idea some of their most common health issues come from the belt they put on. The wrong size may be the most obvious reason for pain, heartburn and discomfort. But did you know the manufacturing process and the buckle might play a role in getting rashes and other allergic reactions?

Here is what you’re risking when wearing a bad quality belt, and how to easily avoid any of the 100% preventable health problems it might cause.

Wrong measure: Wearing a Belt that’s Too Tight

Even though a belt that’s too tight doesn’t look good and can be uncomfortable, wearing one can also put your health at risk. Here are the health issues you expose yourself when wearing a belt that’s too tight:

1. HEARTBURN (acid reflux)

Heartburn (acid reflux) is the most common problem caused by wearing a belt that’s too tight.

The explanation is simple: a tight belt puts pressure against your stomach, causing acid to go back into your throat. The result is a burning sensation in the stomach, chest and throat and a bitter, acidic taste in your mouth.

A medical study carried in Glasgow (UK) researched if wearing your belt too tight can even cause throat cancer. The study showed a link between wearing tight belts and throat cancer, caused by acid reflux. However, the NHS has dismissed the study quickly, because it was unnecessary alarmist. The experiment was carried out on only 24 volunteers, on a short term period with interpretable results.

2. Abdominal Pain

Using a tight belt can disturb the digestive flow, slowing down the whole process. Pressure makes it difficult for gas and food to move down, which often leads to bloating, pain and constipation.

3. Lower Back and Spinal Pain

Research has shown that increased pressure in the abdomen can cause stiffness in the spine and stress on the back. If the belt is too tight and low riding, it causes nerve compression in the back.

A tight belt may also affect your centre of gravity, as well as increasing pressure on the knee joints.

4. Leg Tingling and Numbness

Not only can tight belts be uncomfortable (especially after a big meal), but they can cause burning pain, numbness, sensitivity at a light touch and tingling in the legs. This condition is known as meralgia paresthetica.

The cause is exactly what a tight belt would do: put pressure on a nerve which runs from your abdomen to your lower outer thigh. The condition is common in people who carry things on their hips or wear tight belts and clothing.

5. Reproductive System Damage

Tight belts affect the reproductive function for men and women alike. The reduced air access and increased temperature, also known as ‘heat castration’, overheats genitals and increases humidity and the risk of infectious diseases.

6. Immune System Damage

Applying pressure on your abdomen with a belt can complicate the immune’s system normal way of functioning.

Blood vessels below the belly button take care of the lymphatic drainage. If the belt is too tight on the waist, it slows down the lymph flow, which then directly interferes with the immune system.

On top of this, vital internal organs can suffer from insufficient blood supply.


The solution is simple: remember that, after a meal, the stomach needs to relax. Putting pressure on it with a belt is likely to cause pain. Try loosening the belt after meals and you will reduce the risk of any of these problems.

Allergies to Belt buckles and Fabrics

1. Allergies to Metal Belt Buckles

People often experience a rash when wearing belts with big buckles. This condition is known as belt buckle rash and takes place when the person is allergic to certain metal objects that contain nickel. Nickel is one of the most common cause for allergic contact dermatitis and is commonly used in the production of cheap belt buckles.

When sensitive skin comes in contact with the irritant metal, it turns red, gets blisters and can break if it’s exposed to the offending material for too long. Some people have tried coating the belt buckle with clear nail polish and even using different types of fabric or leather to cover the metal part. This measure helps to avoid skin contact on a short term, but could prove inefficient in the long run.

This is why it.s best to avoid metals that aren’t hypoallergenic and might be inappropriate for your skin.

Belts without nickel in their buckles may be worth looking up

2. Fabric Chemicals

If you don’t know where and how your belt was produced, you might be experiencing exposure to belts who have been chemically treated or produced with cheap leather substitutes.

Always find out what is the type of material used in the manufacturing process. A report from Greenpeace detailed the toxic chemicals used in clothes from fast fashion chains. According to Greenpeace, “Many chemicals that are used in the dying and processing of fabrics can become hormone disrupting and even cancer-causing when they break down in nature, and those chemicals are being dumped into rivers right near the factories.”


Buy locally sourced accessories, and seek out manufacturers whose production practices are transparent.

All these problems can be easily avoided by taking some elementary preventive steps, the simplest being: loosen up! Let your belt out a few notches, and always buy your belts from a local manufacturer.

Belts From OZ is a family owned business from Melbourne, Australia. We manufacture and sell high-quality genuine leather belts and a range of enameled and plain pewter belt buckles. We do not use any cheap substitutes, only real genuine Australian and Italian leather.