Thongs, granny panties, and shapewear, oh my! These days, as body positivity and sex positivity are on the rise, you'd think we'd all be free to wear whatever underwear we want. And, for the most part, we most certainly are — but unfortunately, there are technically certain kinds of underwear that are bad for you.
Now, it's not like they're cigarettes or lead-based paint (or heck, even selfies) — your underwear are pretty categorically not going to kill you. That said, no one likes a yeast infection, and if avoiding certain types of undercrackers will help me avoid them, well, by golly, I'm going to seek them out and wear them.
Medical issues and such aside, your underwear choices are (of course) completely up to you — if you love thongs, keep on wearing thongs! Likewise, if you hate thongs, keep on not wearing thongs! I have no personal agenda either way — just keep in mind that there are certain (mostly minor) risks that come along as a side effect to certain varieties of underwear. So, with all that in mind? Here are a few types of underwear to watch out for.
1. Underwear That Are Too Small
This may be something of a no-brainer — after all, I doubt many of us actually wear too-small underwear on purpose. That said, wear them with caution — they can cause unwanted friction, leading to irritation. In some especially bad cases, ill-fitting underwear can even lead to ingrown hairs, according to the Huffington Post.
2. Sweaty Undies
Another no-brainer, eh? Make sure to change your underwear ASAP after working out or sweating, because the extra moisture can promote yeast and bacterial infections, according to Redbook. Moisture-wicking panties (such as those made from bamboo fabric) can also help in this situation.
3. Underwear Made of Synthetic Materials
Comfy undies tend to be made out of cotton for a reason — it's breathable. Most underwear have a cotton gusset, which helps keep things aerated, but steer clear of underwear made solely of synthetic materials, since retained moisture can lead to a yeast infection.
That said, certain synthetic undies can be even better than your standard cotton duds — underwear with moisture-wicking properties can come in handy for working out.
Given their rather unique design, thongs tend to be less hygienic than one would hope. Unfortunately, no matter how you cut it, there's going to be at least some back-to-front action — and E. Coli isn't exactly a welcome addition to your vagina's natural flora and fauna. As Dr. Jill M. Rabin (an Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health) told the Huffington Post, "If you have a little bacteria — E. coli is the most common bacteria in the colon — in the back part of the fabric and you're physically active, that material may move. All it has to do is move an inch or two and it's next to the vagina or urethra. That thong may be depositing colonic bacteria into your vagina or urethra."
Yikes. Even so, Dr. Rabin assured thong-wearers that not ALL hope is lost — as she put it, "If somebody's healthy, there aren't really any dangers. If somebody's healthy ... The issue is if you have a predisposition to getting infections, either urinary or vaginal, it may be harder to get rid of it if you're wearing a thong."
Shapewear can be awesome, but they're not without risks — as reported by the LA Times, overly-tight shapewear can lead to digestive woes, as well as urinary tract infections.
So, what does that leave? Well, breathable cotton granny panties essentially. Which I, for one, will continue to wear with pride.
Images: Giphy (5); Bustle