7 Unexpected Side Effects Of Going Commando For Even Just 24 Hours

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For better or worse, there are all sorts of side effects that come with not wearing underwear. On the plus side, there's the euphoric, breezy feeling of being unrestrained by the likes of spandex and elastic. And on the downside, there's the increased risk of chafing, infection, and stains. So let's discuss.

Plenty of people go commando every day and don't experience any negative side effects. But in general, there are some reasons why health experts recommend throwing on a pair, particularly the kind that's breathable. "[Try] loose cotton underwear if you're experiencing regular discomfort while wearing underwear, as underwear does serve a purpose," Dr. Yvonne Bohn, OB/GYN and Cystex chief medical correspondent, tells Bustle. "It helps us stay clean and fresh, and protects our [genitals] from anything harmful in the environment."

That doesn't, however, mean you have to wear underwear. Or even that it's necessary to wear them throughout a full 24 hours period. At night, for example, it's recommended that you sleep without underwear to give the vaginal area a chance to breathe. And during the day, it's really all about what you wear. Going commando in a flowy dress, for instance, may not come with the same problems of doing so in jeans.

With that in mind, here are the unexpected side effects of not wearing underwear — even just for a day — according to experts.

1. Chafing

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One of the main purposes of underwear is to protect your sensitive areas from rough or stiff fabrics, which can rub against your skin and cause chafing.

"Walking around all day without underwear might be surprisingly uncomfortable, simply due to wearing materials such as denim that might cause undesirable friction," Dr. Bohn says.

You might have some pretty serious irritation at the end of the day, so definitely keep this in mind before ditching your underwear, especially if you plan to walk long distances.

2. Clothing Issues

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While underwear is meant to protect your body, first and foremost, it's also designed to keep your clothing intact. Take, for example, the fact vaginal discharge is naturally very acidic.

"Vaginal discharge can [...] soil the clothing and cause the fabric to begin to fall apart," Dr. Felice Gersh, author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist's Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness, tells Bustle. If you'd like to extend the life of your favorite pants, all you have to do is wear underwear and you should be good to go.

3. More Laundry

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Not wearing underwear can also mean having to do your laundry more often, especially if you have a lot of vaginal discharge, Dr. Nancy Simpkins, Rx Saver medical expert, tells Bustle. Some people have more than others, but thankfully underwear can help catch it all, and keep it away from your fave jeans.

4. Skin Stains

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Believe it or not, the dyes found in some clothing can rub off and stain your skin, Dr. Gersh says, causing a temporary stain. So if you're wearing a new pair of dark wash denim, or a bright pair of red pants, don't be surprised if you notice a slightly different tint to your nether regions.

5. Different Odors

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While there's nothing wrong with vaginal odor — since it's natural, and we all have it — not wearing underwear can make the scent seem different than usual. As Dr. Bohn says, "You might notice a stronger smell throughout the day as as result of less fabric."

6. Increased Risk Of Infection

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"Besides usually being very uncomfortable, going without underwear can be a health hazard," Dr. Simpkins says, which is why if you decide to go sans underwear, you may want to proceed with caution.

"Underwear provides a layer of protection for the external vaginal area and protects the area from chaffing and rash and infection," Dr. Simpkins says. "Moist areas like the genital area are culture medium for bacteria and even the slightest amount on your jeans can get in and cause an infection. Chafing the skin opens the area to infection as well."

7. Folliculitis

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A skin issues known as folliculitis can crop up if you aren't properly protecting your vaginal area, Dr. Simpkins says. This is a form of inflammation of a hair follicle. And again, this is all thanks to the chafing and irritation that can stem from close-fitting clothing, and can be made even worse if you just shaved.

It's totally up to you whether you want to wear underwear or go commando, as there are definite benefits to both. While you should keep certain side effects, like chafing and infection, in mind, it's all about which option makes you feel most comfortable.