Compression stockings and abdominal binders: Many of us POTSies have a love/hate relationship with them. They're ugly, uncomfortable, hot, expensive, a chore to wash properly, and an ordeal to put on...but they might help alleviate POTS symptoms.
Compression garments are believed to improve POTS symptoms by reducing blood pooling, which leaves more blood available to circulate back to the heart and head. This makes intuitive sense, but do they work well enough to justify the costs and fashion indignities? This is a common question in online support groups, so we used the POTS Patient-Powered Survey to ask about both compression stockings and abdominal binders. For starters, we asked:
Yes, 281 No, 149
Of the 281 patients who had tried them, we next asked whether they had helped. Below are percentages of patients who gave each response:
Helped a lot!, 12% Helped a little, 42% Didn't help, 41% Made my POTS worse, 6%
Next, we asked the same questions about abdominal binders:
Yes, 70 No, 360
Of the 70 patients who had tried them, we next asked whether they had helped. Below are percentages of patients who gave each response:
Helped a lot!, 10% Helped a little, 33% Didn't help, 46% Made my POTS worse, 11%
What stands out to me in these findings is that relatively few people have tried abdominal binders, and that - like so many things POTSy - there is little consensus about whether this treatment helps or not. My personal experience with both garments was that they did more harm than good until I finally found ones that fit perfectly. Then they helped.
If your doctor has recommended compression garments and you haven't tried them yet, perhaps these findings give you hope. You could be in the 10-12% of each group who found them to help a lot. Good luck!