Thongs, are they really a necessary staple in your wardrobe? Let’s face it, thongs have a magical way of making you feel fabulously sexy — regardless of what you choose to wear on top of them. But here’s the thing; while most women (and men) wear thongs to prevent panty lines, those same thongs are typically made of a less breathable fabric. That creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Here’s why it’s time to ditch your thongs and replace them with something better.
Let’s talk hygiene
Your vagina is naturally self-cleaning, thanks to healthy vaginal secretions. But keeping your vagina healthy requires good hygiene practice and a good diet. A healthy vagina is full of bacteria — some good and some bad. Good bacteria help keep the vagina a touch acidic, which keeps bad bacteria from growing too fast, according to the American Sexual Health Association. Sometimes, however, the bad bacteria can take over and cause issues. Enter, the thong.
Thongs, a bacteria trap
Most thongs are made from synthetic fabrics like nylon and lycra that don’t “breathe” and can trap moisture. The genital area stays warm and moist, which creates the perfect environment for yeast to grow. If you’re prone to yeast infections, then this could be a real problem. Add to that the fact that wearing thongs can also encourage bacteria to spread from your butt to your vagina, and you have a bacteria trap. What you could end up with is bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis is the result of bacteria like E.coli, which normally inhabit the rectum and spread to the vagina, according to research. If your thong moves, it can carry bacteria forward to the vagina and urinary tract. Guess what ladies? These infections can sometimes be contagious. While bacterial vaginosis can affect all ages, it most often occurs during reproductive years.
Are thongs better for men?
Some men choose to wear a thong to keep their skinny jeans and form-fitting slacks smooth and neat. Additionally, they might prefer the feeling of keeping everything under tight wrap. The problem is, thongs sit tight against the genital and anal areas, so they can inflame the sensitive skin there. Plus, keeping testicles too tightly wrapped may cause reproductive issues down the road.
Best underwear for women
The difference between good and bad underwear is feeling cool and dry or hot and sweaty, with the latter potentially causing great discomfort. According to a study in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, wearing underwear made from synthetic fabrics — like nylon and lycra — that can’t breathe and keep the genital area moist and warm, is one of the factors linked to vaginal yeast infections. So what are your options? Well, thongs probably aren’t on the list, since many women report an increase in urinary tract or yeast infections when wearing them, according to Berkeley Wellness. And of course, wearing undies like thongs that tend to rub against sensitive areas, leaves some women prone to vulvar irritation and vaginitis.
Trusty cotton panties
Cotton is a good choice when it comes to everyday wear. It’s absorbent and best promotes breathability. If you insist on never giving up your thongs, then at least opt for ones that are vagina-friendly, meaning, the thong and gusset (if not the entire garment) are 100 percent cotton.
Is organic cotton better?
If you have overly sensitive skin or you’ve been dealing with frequent infections or irritation, choosing organic cotton underwear may be beneficial. The difference between organic and non-organic cotton is basically no pesticides in the organic material.
Working out? Ditch the cotton for moisture-wicking panties
Many doctors advise women to wear breathable underwear that gently absorbs any extra moisture. And for the most part, cotton will suffice. However, when you’re working up a sweat at the gym, opt instead for moisture-wicking panties. Additionally, if you’re prone to yeast infections then this material may be your best bet. Moisture-wicking panties are underwear made from fabric that draws sweat and bodily fluids away from the nether regions, rather than just absorbing it. In fact, this type of fabric eliminates moisture quickly, allowing it to stay dry even when you’re working up a real sweat during your spin class. Also, apart from helping you stay comfortable, it can keep your underwear from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
Best underwear for men
Men clearly don’t have the same issues women have when choosing underwear. However, when it comes to fertility — or lack thereof, research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that men who wore boxers had significantly higher concentrations of sperm and higher total sperm counts than those men who did not wear boxers. So, when it comes to “breathing room,” those tighty whities just don’t cut it. But, what if having babies isn’t in your master plan? In that case, simply, opt for comfort.
And of course, if wearing underwear isn’t your thing, then you can always go commando. In the end, it’s really about being able to breathe down there — for both men and women.