There is a variety of underwear available on the market that come in fun designs and shapes that stylishly protect your vagina. However, before you purchase any pair of undies, you must consider if they’re safe for your vaginal health.
Wearing ill-fitting underwear can cause bacterial infections like UTIs and yeast infections, vulva irritation, and in-grown hairs.
Synthetic materials, like nylon and spandex, are known to harm vaginal health.
Certain underwear styles, like thongs and G-strings, can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
It’s recommended that you wear breathable fabrics like cotton and bamboo to protect your vaginal health.
While wearing underwear may seem harmless, choosing the wrong pair can cause health issues such as vaginal irritation and bacterial infections.
Here’s why the wrong underwear can harm your vaginal health
Vaginal health issues associated with ill-fitting underwear:
Development of bacterial, yeast and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Not only can wearing the wrong underwear cause chafing around your inner thighs, but it can also lead to bacterial infections. “Synthetic materials like nylon and spandex trap heat and moisture and don’t allow the vagina to breathe, encouraging infections,” said Dr. Melanie Bone, an OB/GYN and member of Daye’s medical board.
Tight or non-cotton underwear can increase your chances of developing a yeast infection. A yeast infection is a fungal infection that occurs when candida, or yeast, is out of balance in your body.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) may also arise from wearing the wrong-fitting underwear. A UTI is any infection that occurs in the urinary system. UTIs can cause painful or frequent urination, lower abdomen cramps, and bloody urine.
Certain types of underwear like thongs or G-strings, or wearing fabrics made out of synthetic materials create a breeding ground for bacteria to develop, causing health conditions like UTIs.
Vaginal and vulva irritation
Vulva irritation may occur from wearing moisture-trapping underwear made of materials like nylon and spandex.
Sweating and adverse reactions to certain fabrics from clothing can cause the following health issues in and around your vagina:
- Burning or itching.
- Redness or swelling.
- Vaginal discomfort and discharge.
- Skin cracking.
- Whitening of skin.
- Discomfort or pain during sex.
- In-grown pubic hairs.
Another potential health effect of wearing ill-fitting underwear is the development of ingrown hairs. The elasticity in tight underwear can press into your skin, trapping your pubic hair. Without any room for your pubic hair to grow, the hairs grow back into the skin. Ingrown pubic hairs can lead to redness and itchiness.
How to find the best underwear for your vagina
To prevent the above-mentioned health conditions that occur with underwear, use the following tips to find the best underwear for your vaginal health.
Choose cotton as the most recommended fabric for your undies. Cotton underwear is breathable, keeping your vagina cool and dry throughout the day. In addition, cotton can also prevent odors from building up in your vaginal areas.
Additional benefits of wearing cotton underwear are:
- Protection from bacterial infections and irritation.
- It’s hypoallergenic (created with minimal dyes and chemicals during production).
- Provides extra coverage during menstruation.
Bamboo underwear is a great alternative to cotton undies. This fabric is also breathable and more moisture-wicking and absorbent than cotton. Bamboo underwear also contains an antibacterial and antifungal bio-agent that makes it odor-resistant.
Find the right underwear styles
Wearing thongs and G–strings is fine occasionally, but they aren’t safe for daily use. Stringy underwear can create a breeding ground for bacteria, so you’ll want to wear looser and breathable styles more often.
Here are some recommended styles of underwear you can try:
- Classic briefs.
- High-cut briefs.
- Boy shorts.
Avoid wearing undergarments that are too tight around your waist and vagina. If you’re unsure what size underwear you need, use a measuring tape to get your waist and hip circumference, or visit a local lingerie store to get measured by a professional.
Aside from wearing the right underwear, here are some additional tips to keep in mind when protecting your vaginal health:
Always purchase underwear with a gusset! Most underwear comes with a built-in gusset or pocket, which helps to catch moisture and vaginal discharge. Gussets can help prevent leakage and are a great place to secure pads and panty liners during menstruation.
You must always change your underwear daily to prevent infections. “It’s important to change your underwear every day,” said Bone. “If you’ve been exercising, it’s advisable to change your underwear twice a day.”
If you feel comfortable, go without underwear each night. Sleeping without underwear helps your vagina breathe and retain moisture.
Throughout the day, your underwear may collect vaginal discharge, urine, period blood, sweat, and other fluids. With this in mind, you’ll want to thoroughly wash your underwear to prevent contamination the next time you wear them.
Wearing ill-fitting underwear for extended periods can pose health risks to your vagina. From vulva irritation to in-grown hairs, several health conditions can arise from wearing certain underwear styles and fabrics. It’s crucial that when you purchase underwear you ensure that it’s made of breathable fabric, like cotton and bamboo, and that you’re changing and washing your underwear regularly.