Are you changing your underwear as often as they should? In a 2019 survey by underwear manufacturer Tommy John, Men were 2.5 times more likely than women to go for a week or more without changing their underwear.
Underwear has a more significant effect on your health than your think, and wearing the wrong kinds can increase the risk of infection. Continue reading to make sure you’re not making these underwear mistakes eight underwear mistakes.
8. The Crotch Isn’t Cotton
We wear underwear all day long, so it should be made up of the most natural materials. It is ideal to have 100% cotton underwear, but especially in the crotch area. These natural fibers will keep you feeling fresh and dry.
A 2018 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology suggests underwear that doesn’t have a cotton crotch can lead to a yeast infection. One of the most uncomfortable infections there is! Who would want that?
Materials that can mess with vaginal health include synthetic fabrics such as polyester and lace. They trap heat and moisture, causing irritation and creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Unfortunately, silk has the same effect. With that said, stick to cotton to avoid vaginal irritation and yeast infections.
7. The Size is Too Small
If you still have the same underwear you wore before your hips came in, it is definitely time to throw them out. Tight-fitting undergarments suffocate your lady bits, making the area hot and sweaty, resulting in irritation and infection.
In some cases, a painful condition known as vulvodynia can occur. Tight underwear should be avoided at all costs. It can play a big part in inhibiting a breeding ground for bacteria.
6. Washing Them Incorrectly
Your washing machine can not always be depended on to get rid of all of the bacteria on your underwear. Bacteria will build up on your underwear and take a toll on your vaginal health. Your chances of contracting a yeast infection or urinary tract infection will increase, among other conditions.
According to studies published in Frontiers in Microbiology, cooler washing temperatures will only disinfect when bleaches are used in the detergents.
TIP: Wash underwear on the “hot” cycle. If it is washed at a lower temperature, tumble dry them on low for 30 minutes post-wash.
5. Scents and Chemicals
Skin down there is sensitive and can easily be irritated! Unnatural chemicals and perfumes used in some detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets can cause itch and burn. Some women are more scented than others. However, it is best to stick to the unscented products or those containing the most natural ingredients. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests looking for “hypoallergenic” in the label.
4. Only Wearing Thongs
In an effort to avoid visible panty lines, you’re probably wearing thongs. Keep in mind, wearing thongs increases the risk of infection because of how easy they make it for bacteria to move from the back door to the front.
Of course, some women can tolerate thongs with no problems, but there are certain ones everyone should avoid. Thongs with non-breathable materials such as lacy, synthetic fabrics increase the risk for irritation and infection. Some thongs have thinner materials than others, making it easier for bacteria to move around, increasing the risk of infection even more.
3. You Ignore the Stains
Although it can be gross, peaking at discharge is very important to maintaining vaginal health. Depending on the time of the month, there will be more or less. Also, it is normal for the color to vary from clear to white. Just keep an eye out for Gray or greenish-colored discharge because that could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis—a vaginal infection caused by bacteria overgrowth.
Pay attention to the texture of discharge as well. If it looks is foamy, pus-like or has a cottage-cheese-like texture, you may have a problem. A small amount of vaginal odor is completely normal, but a noticeably foul odor could indicate infection.
2. Not Changing After Sweating
We all have those days when we don’t shower right after a workout. Sometimes our schedule just doesn’t allow it. After hitting the gym, you may need to run some errands or grab lunch with a friend, and two hours later, you’re still sitting in those sweaty undies.
It’s always best to change or shower directly after working out, especially if you’re not wearing breathable cotton underwear! The warm, wet environment created in your underwear from a workout can lead to bacteria growth and yeast. You are also increasing your chances of getting a rash known as intertrigo, caused by friction, lack of air circulation and moisture.
1. Sleeping in Underwear
Typically, problems don’t arise from sleeping in underwear. Some women, however, prefer going commando at night. Sleeping naked is a great way for all women to improve their vaginal health but is especially beneficial for those who suffer from chronic inflammation in the vulva or vagina. Give your vagina some relief and breathing room.
TIP: If you feel uncomfortable sleeping in the nude, steal one of your partner’s boxers or order some of your own! They are comfy and breathable.