We asked a gynecologist if one type of underwear is better or healthier for your vagina than another. Candice Fraser, M.D., FACOG, founder of Trinity Medical Center in New York, says that everything from style to material can be attributed to irritation or infections.
There are so many underwear options today. You have boxers, briefs, shorts, thongs, and bikini panties, along with a variety of materials to choose from, from cotton to synthetics like nylon. Of course, underwear helps to protect your outer clothing from vaginal discharge or blood and can absorb odor. This works if you change your undies frequently. It can prevent chafing for some who are sensitive to certain material or seams on clothes.
There are several doctor-approved tips on vaginal health that your OB-GYN may not have mentioned during your last check-up.
5. Wearing No Underwear at All
Yes, this is healthy, but especially at night, since it helps your vagina breathe better, reducing yeast infections. It especially helps those with vulvodynia, or pain in the vulva.
4. Natural versus Synthetic Underwear Material
“Cotton is more natural, especially during workouts”, says Dr. Susan Chatterjee at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, as it is more breathable and absorbable. If you prefer synthetic materials, be sure to wear moisture-wicking underwear. Synthetics encompass nylon, spandex, and polyester and are associated with a higher risk of vaginal infections and yeast problems due to more heat and moisture.
3. Shape and Style of Your Underwear
“Buy the underwear that makes you feel good and that is comfortable,” says Lauren Streicher, M.D., clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Medical Center. Be honest about the right size and style for your body type. It should not be too tight or too loose. Be sure the fabric covers the labia folds of the vaginal area.
2. Different Panties for Different Uses
Thongs and lace can be irritating. It is suggested you save them for a sexy date night rather than for everyday wear. Thongs could become a bacteria carrier by acting as a wick from the anus to the vaginal tract, causing urinary tract infections or vaginitis. It helps if the crotch area has a cotton lining, and cotton is best for infection control due to its ventilation and absorption of wetness. Make sure your panties are not too tight as to become irritating. There are markets for period panties, for pregnancy, and performance or workout underwear.
1. The Role of Diet and Hygiene for Vaginal Health
Diet does play a role in your propensity to develop yeast infections, such as sugar issues like poorly controlled diabetes, oral contraceptives, high antibiotic use, or even pregnancy. There are some women who love taking bubble baths or like keeping their vaginal area clean with douching, but too much of either could cause irritation leading to infection.