8 underwear mistakes that are bad for your health

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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There is so much about your underwear you MUST know, otherwise you could end up making these 8 hygiene mistakes!

Do you get a vaginal infection often? Have you spotted bleached patches on your panties? Are you wearing underwear with a hole in it? If you answered yes to most of these questions, you are making some hygiene mistakes with your panties that are putting your health at risk. Being a female, maintaining hygiene down there as well as the type of underwear you choose can have a big impact on your vaginal health. 

So can your underwear really cause problems?

Well, from choosing the wrong underwear to not changing it regularly —all of that can put your health at risk. Therefore, you should be careful at every step. So, to clear all your doubts, HealthShots got in touch with Dr Uma Vaidyanathan, Senior Consultant – Obs and Gynae, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.

underwear mistakes
Beware of theses mistakes! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

So, Dr Vaidyanathan explains all the underwear mistakes which are bad for your vaginal and overall health:

1. Don’t use synthetic underwear

Undergarments should always be made of cotton. Lace and other synthetic fabrics may appear pretty, but they absorb sweat easily and aren’t breathable. This turns your underwear into a breeding ground for bacteria around the private area, causing skin irritation and various infections.

2. Avoid tight underwear

Wear well-fitting undergarments. Tight-fitting garments and lacey inners can cause irritation along the skin folds of your private parts, leading to increased chances of vulvovaginal infections and a painful condition called vulvodynia, which may interfere with your sex life. 

3. Avoid shapewear

Try to stay away from shapewear because it comes with a lot of risks. Dr Vaidyanathan suggests, “Wearing shapewear once in a while to look good is okay. But regularly wearing it compresses your body and puts extra pressure on your bladder, meaning you have to use the bathroom more often. It may lead to nerve compression which, in the worst-case scenario, can lead to long-lasting pelvic and lower limb and back pain.”

4. Change them regularly

Change your undergarments regularly, or if you are on your period and use pads, change it twice a day. Vaginal and vulval secretions in the undergarments make for a fertile ground for infections.

underwear mistakes
You need to change your underwear every single day, there are simply no excuses! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Wash underwear properly

Wash them in warm water and avoid using fabric softeners or scented detergents, while cleaning them. Make sure your undergarments are dried thoroughly before you wear them. Research has shown that bacterial load on undergarments is inversely related to the amount of time its air dried.

6. Do not ignore undergarment stains

Clear to white discharge is normal, but when the stains turn green or blood-tinged, or look like a curdy discharge with a foul odor, it’s probably time to see your gynecologist. Also, discard the garment if harsh stains remain even after washing well.

7. Have a good bath after workouts

Staying in sweaty underclothes post exercise is a breeding ground for bacterial and yeast infections. 

8. Avoid wearing thongs

Thongs may save you from visible panty lines but they also provide a direct way for bacteria to travel from back to front. This increases your chances of catching an infection. Many thongs come in lacey, silk, and polyester fabric, which makes them even more uncomfortable.

underwear mistakes
Ladies, please ditch those thongs! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

So what’s the solution or the right way to use underwear?

Dr Vaidyanathan suggests, “Sleep in loose-fitting cotton underwear. Women who suffer from chronic inflammation and itching due to repeated yeast or vaginal infections are better off sleeping without undergarments. Aeration helps in settling infections faster.”

Also, try to wear seamless underwear. Lace and finer details only have cosmetic value. Tight elastic bands can rub and irritate the skin, and if these irritations go deep, they may eventually lead to scarring. So beware and maintain proper underwear hygiene, ladies!

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