6 Things Your OB/GYN Wishes You’d Think About When You’re Shopping For New Clothes
When you're shopping for new clothes, do you ever think about how each item can affect your health? As weird as it may seem, OB/GYNs say there are some things they wish you'd think about more when you're shopping for some wardrobe updates. Some clothes are better for your vagina than others.
"The vagina is a key interface between the body and the outside world," Dr. Felice Gersh, OB/GYN, Founder and Director of the Integrative Medical Practice of Irvine, tells Bustle. "An unhealthy vagina not only feels bad, but it can be the start of an unhealthy body. With that said, wearing clothes to increase vaginal health is both important and doable."
Unless something starts itching or rubs you the wrong way, you may never really think about how some clothing options are better for you than others. But it's important to keep it in the back of your mind when you do shop for new clothes. In the worst case scenario, Dr. Gersh says certain items can not only cause irritations and infections, but it can even "increase one’s overall inflammatory status and risk of developing an autoimmune disease."
It may not seem like it, but something as simple as choosing the wrong underwear can affect your vaginal health in different ways. So here are some things OB/GYNs wish you'd keep in mind when you're shopping for new clothes.
1. Your Clothing May Contain Toxins
A 2015 Stockholm University study tested 60 different garments and found toxins in every single one. Apparently even "organic" or items specified as "non-toxic" still contained an alarming amount of chemicals. As Dr. Gersh says, "Chemicals implanted into the cloth can be absorbed by the skin." While it's difficult to purchase clothing items that are 100 percent chemical-free, any clothing that comes into close contact with your genital skin should contain as much natural fibers as possible. "Be 'breathable' and always be very comfortable," she says.
2. Tight Clothing Can Create An Environment For Bacteria To Grow
"Tight and constricting panties or pants can induce a moist environment, permitting the overgrowth of both bacteria and especially of yeast," Dr. Gersh says. In order to maintain vulvar and vaginal health, it's important to keep the "genital zone" from becoming too hot and moist. If skinny jeans are your thing, just keep in mind that wearing tight jeans can also promote rubbing. According to Dr. Gersh, the increase in heat and moisture can up the growth of yeast.
3. Unbleached Panties Are Ideal If You're Prone To Infections
Women who are prone to vaginal candida (yeast infections) and bacterial infections should aim to wear unbleached cotton panties that always fit comfortably. "This is the best way to lower exposure to chemicals," Dr. Gersh says.
4. Yoga Pants Won't Give Your Vagina Enough Breathing Room
As comfortable as they may be, synthetic, non-breathable fabrics that are typically found in yoga pants, do not allow the vaginal area to breathe. According to Dr. Adeeti Gupta, founder of Walk In GYN Care, this can allow "the proliferation of harmful bacteria and yeast." This can also lead to recurrent vaginal conditions such as bacterial vaginosis or candidiasis.
5. It Wouldn't Hurt To Add Fragrance-Free Detergent To Your Cart
If you don't already make it a habit to wash new clothes before you wear it, you should consider it. If you already do, Dr. Christine Sterling, an OB/GYN with Love Wellness, tells Bustle, "Wash all new clothing and underwear with a mild, fragrance free detergent before allowing it to come in contact with your vulva."
6. You Can Never Go Wrong With Cotton
If you want to reduce your risk of growing bacteria, prevent yeast infections, and maintain an overall healthy vaginal area, OB/GYNs say stick with cotton underwear. As Dr. Gupta says, cotton is your best bet. Plus, cotton is comfortable. Who doesn't like comfort?
Keep in mind, these are all just suggestions and things to think about when you're out doing a Target run. But always remember that your vaginal health is important. It doesn't hurt to know how types of fabric or clothing can possibly affect you. Having as much information as you can will help you make the right decisions for you and your body.