Did you know that August 5th happens to be National Underwear Day? Sure, an underwear retailer started this day in 2003 and probably in the hope of boosting his sales, but it brings to mind an important thing - we really don’t talk about underwear enough!
Sexy underwear may make you feel more attractive and your partner more content, but it’s nearly not enough to keep your vagina healthy. There are, indeed, unspoken underwear rules to maintain your vaginal flora and guard against infections.
Here are some gynaecologically certified underwear rules to live by for a healthy vagina.
Live by these 8 underwear rules for a healthy vagina
The basic thing to remember when picking out underwear is - if it’s comfortable, it’s better. But, since “comfort” may vary across people, we have listed 8 simple rules to remember so you never go wrong with your underwear!
- The airier, the better - Tight underwear may do a better job at being more discreet, but it’s really not good for your crotch. Airy, looser and more comfortable fits tend to let your lady bits breathe. When your vulva is dry and airy, it does a better job of guarding you against intimate infections.
- Natural over synthetic any day - Natural fibres, especially cotton, is the gynaecologist certified fabric for your underwear. Due to the delicate nature of your vulva, it needs extra gentle fabrics to remain healthy. Cotton also has better wicking properties, meaning that it gently absorbs the excess moisture and lets it evaporate out into the atmosphere, thus keeping your crotch area dry. Synthetic fabrics can trap more moisture, causing your skin to get irritated. A moist environment may also breed more bacteria and cause infections.
- Use mild detergent to wash them - Did you know that there are right and wrong ways to take care of your underwear? It’s advisable to wash your underwear separately in a hypoallergenic mild detergent made specifically for sensitive skin. This can guard you against potential irritation and chemical reactions that may occur when normal, soapy detergent comes into contact with your vulva. Also, always refrain from bleaching your underwear as this can not only wear them out faster but also react with the elastic in your underwear and cause an allergic reaction.
- Wear a different pair every day - Your underwear is more prone to get wet, especially on hot summer days or post workouts. As a rule, it’s best to change them daily to keep your vaginal area healthy. Additionally, if you deal with a lot of sweating or discharge, you may want to change your underwear more than once a day.
- Opt to go commando when you can - A lot of articles out there suggest that going commando is actually healthier for you, as long as you don’t come into contact with a lot of public spaces - like bus seats and public toilet seats. Ditching your underwear, especially at night while sleeping, will ensure that your crotch gets to breathe. It also reduces friction between your vulva and your underwear, which can lead to chafing.
- Maybe replace them every year - This may not look like the most eco-friendly option, but it may be beneficial to replace your underwear every year, especially if you suffer from bacterial vaginosis and other intimate infections. It’s a fact that about 83% of underwear considered clean houses around 10,000 bacteria and a tenth of a gram of poop on average. Even if you don’t want to replace your underwear each year, try replacing them when their elastics get loose, leading to more friction.
- Thongs are usually fine - There is some debate regarding the safety of thongs when it comes to the delicate vulva. However, studies have not found any link between bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, urinary tract infections and thongs. They’re also not responsible for any change in the vaginal pH, according to studies. But, thongs are usually made of synthetic materials, which can potentially harm the vaginal ecosystem, so it’s best to not use them excessively.
- Keep an eye on the stains - You may notice your underwear staining with vaginal discharge, often turning yellow overtime to the fluid’s bleaching properties. Subsequently, you should keep an eye out for abnormal discharge, foul odour and blood when you’re not supposed to be menstruating. If you notice any abnormalities, you should consult your gynecologist for advice.