For most of us, choosing our underwear in the morning is a matter of sticking our hand in a drawer. But that one simple act has health implications that should give us pause. For instance, did you know that you should have a pair of designated exercise underwear? Or that thongs may put you at risk for infection?
Here are five facts about underwear we all should know:
1. You should choose your exercise undies carefully.
It’s time to invest in a pair of workout panties.
Yes, we know it’s frustrating to buy even more underwear. But wearing your lacy thongs straight from the office to the gym could put you at risk for infection.
First off, it’s important to wear breathable undies during your workout. Opt for Lycra or cotton instead of lace or satin ― the latter trap moisture, which could lead to a yeast infection. Secondly, skip the thongs. While they’re a great way to avoid panty lines in yoga pants, thongs can bring E.coli from your rear up to the front as you move. Say bye-bye to UTIs and check out some seamless and hip-hugger styles here.
2. Going to bed commando may be the way to go.
Do we really need to aerate our nether regions as we sleep? Survey says: maybe.
In general, women don’t need to sleep in the nude. But for women who suffer from vaginal inflammation, vulvitis, vaginitis or yeast infections, sleeping without underwear may help. Bacteria thrive in dark, warm, wet areas, making your underwear an ideal home. Stripping down allows everything to breathe and air out.
3. That said, you should still wear underwear during the day.
“No underwear causes a whole host of other problems, particularly because clothing doesn’t tend to have a liner,” Dr. Raquel B. Dardik told Grandparents.com. “For one, if you’re wearing pants, the seam sits right in the vulval area and will constantly be rubbing the area. If you are wearing dresses or skirts, there’s nothing there to absorb vaginal moisture.”
Are you thoroughly grossed out yet? Great, moving on.
4. Your thong could be putting you at risk for infection and irritation.
Remember how you’re supposed to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom? That’s because wiping from back to front can transport bacteria from your anus to your vagina and urethra.
When you wear a thong, that strip of fabric becomes a highway for bacteria to travel from your rear to your vagina or urethra.
“If you have a little bacteria — E. coli is the most common bacteria in the colon — in the back part of the fabric and you’re physically active, that material may move,” Dr. Jill M. Rabin previously told The Huffington Post. “All it has to do is move an inch or two and it’s next to the vagina or urethra. That thong may be depositing colonic bacteria into your vagina or urethra.”
Keep in mind, thongs are perfectly safe for most people. But if you tend to contract infections, or you’re currently fighting off an infection, your thong may not be helping the situation.
5. We should all be wearing cotton underwear.
Cotton underwear is breathable and absorbent. Silk and satin panties trap moisture, which allows bacteria to grow and can cause possible infections. Even if the crotch of your silky underwear is cotton, it’s probably not enough.
“When patients say [to me], ‘But the crotch is cotton,’ my response is that the layer outside the crotch is not,” Dr. Shieva Ghofrany previously told HuffPost. “...Thus making the cotton less breathable and thus allowing more moisture to be trapped and more possible imbalance leading to infections.”
Anyone else feeling like cotton granny panties are the way to go? Same. Stay safe and healthy out there, ladies.