The Best Underwear for a Healthy Vagina
The proper underwear can help your vagina stay healthy, so you can benefit from optimal fertility and a highly satisfying sex life. The wrong underwear can increase your risk for yeast infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other conditions that stem from poor vaginal hygiene.
If you’ve ever struggled with a vaginal condition related to bacterial growth, check out this breakdown of the types of underwear to choose, and those to avoid.
Choose cotton & natural fibers
Underwear made from natural fibers, such as cotton and bamboo, is breathable and effective at absorbing excess moisture to keep your vagina dry. Cotton is also gentle against your skin, which makes this fabric more comfortable. If you have a problem with wearing cotton underwear, at least make sure that the part of your underwear that touches your vagina is made from cotton to ensure good ventilation and reduce your risk of bacterial growth.
Choose moisture-wicking blends
If you exercise frequently or spend a lot of time sweating in high-temperature environments, stock up on underwear made from moisture-wicking blends. Though cotton may be ideal for normal everyday wear, it can get heavy, wet and uncomfortable when you’re exercising or sweating. Cotton is absorbent but won’t necessarily dry quickly.
Many sportswear and underwear brands now offer lines made with moisture-wicking blends, specifically for active people. This type of underwear is typically made from high-tech synthetic materials and blends that absorb sweat and moisture, and help your vagina stay clean and dry until you’re able to hit the shower.
Avoid synthetic materials
Materials such as nylon, Lycra, polyester and spandex may irritate your skin and trap moisture, which creates a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can enter the vagina. If wearing underwear made from synthetic materials makes you feel more attractive and sexy—especially around your partner—consider wearing such garments for short periods, such as on a date or just before a romantic interlude.
Avoid too-tight thongs & G-strings
Thongs and G-string panties do not increase the risk for vaginal health problems as once believed. In a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers set out to determine whether thongs were linked to a higher prevalence of urinary tract infections and bacterial vaginosis; the data determined they were not. However, thongs and G-strings that are too tight against the vagina may result in continued friction that causes skin irritation and open sores that pose a potential infection risk.
Going without underwear at night while you sleep allows your vagina to breathe for several hours, which helps prevent any buildup of moisture, bacteria and yeast. If going commando isn’t an option for you—maybe you have roommates or children who like to storm into your bedroom—consider sleeping in extremely loose pajama bottoms that allow for sufficient airflow.
If you are experiencing vaginal symptoms such as itching, burning, swelling, rash or discharge, make an appointment with a doctor immediately to identify the root of your symptoms. While it’s possible that switching your underwear could make symptoms go away, a doctor will properly diagnose your condition and discuss potential treatments.