Not all underwear is created equal, but it’s not just me (Maria, self-proclaimed lingerie addict and extreme lace enthusiast) saying that. Specialists and doctors have a whole lot of insights to share about choosing the best underwear for yourself, too. That's why I got in touch with Dr. Drai, Board-Certified OBGYN and Sexual Health Advisor for Astroglide TTC. He was more than willing to talk about the underwear mistakes that could be leading to tons of annoyances down under, and according to this OBGYN, if you tend to buy your underwear all willy-nilly (and potentially frilly), you might run into a few issues.
It turns out that when you go shopping for a new pair of underwear, size and style aren’t the only two things you should be looking at. Fabric is also particularly important, as well as your intended purpose for your new underwear. The pair you work out in should not be the pair you sleep in, and the pair that you go out in (if it’s a tight and confining thong that looks much better than it feels) probably shouldn’t be worn for more than a few hours at a time. Here are the most common underwear-related health problems, as well as the right pair you can wear, in order to fix them.
1. If You’re Getting Lots Of Yeast Infections, Seek Out Cotton & Loose-Fitting Styles
According to Dr. Drai, yeast is always present in the body, but when a pH imbalance occurs, an overgrowth results in itching, burning, and discharge. "No more silk panties! Wearing loose fitting cotton underwear reduces the risk of getting a yeast infection," says Dr. Drai. This six pack of Body Embrace cotton hipsters is specifically made for all day 100 percent cotton comfort. They’re especially great while you’re working out, and people say they’re super comfortable and easy to care for.
"When the normal acidity of the vagina changes or when hormonal balance changes, Candida can multiply and cause problems," says Dr. Drai. The vagina needs to breathe, and airing out overnight is a great option. These Ashford & Brooks knicker shorts keep you covered and contained, but the lightweight fabric is super loose and comfortable, so everything stays comfortable while you sleep.
2. If You’re Getting UTIs From No-Show Thongs, Seek Out Other No-Show Options
"Thongs are trouble. I see this all the time," says Dr. Drai. "Bacteria from the rectum can travel on a thong and get into the vagina causing an infection or the bladder causing a bladder infection." For a more hygienic option without annoying panty lines, the Jockey No Panty Line Promise bikini won’t slide, show, or trap heat, but it will ensure a comfy fit with everything from dresses to leggings.
"UTIs can easily be caused by non-cotton fabrics and thongs," says Dr. Drai. "Just wear cotton non-thong underwear." Consequently, a pair made from stretchy, not-too-confining material is better for your urinary tract health. SPANX Women's UndieTectable hipster briefs give you the best of both worlds — moderate high-rise fit that won’t show through your clothes, and a stretchy all-cotton material that’s easy to put on and take off.
3. If You’re Experiencing Chafing, Look For Boxer Brief Fits
If chafing is a big issue, "Boxer briefs will help keep those thighs from rubbing together," says Dr. Drai. Because they’re soft and seamless, these Smartwool seamless boy shorts are an awesome option if you’re ready to give up chafing and digging. "Comfy!" says one reviewer. "Doesn't ride up. Perfect for hiking. Bliss."
Another option is going for a natural, non-irritating fabric that wicks moisture and won’t chafe. Made with a combination of bamboo and spandex, these TEERFU bamboo boy shorts are some of the softest and stretchiest underwear. They come in a pack of five different colors, and they’re also naturally antibacterial and eco-friendly.
4. If You’re Getting Ingrown Hairs, Ditch Tight Underwear For More Relaxed Styles
Believe it or not, the ingrown hairs you’re getting post-removal could be the result of your underwear. "Pubes have purpose; they prevent bacteria from coming into the vagina. Trim if you must," Dr. Drai says, but he advises against waxing and shaving. "Yes, heat from too tight undies can help formation of ingrown hairs," he also says. Made with breathable lace that feels loose around your bottom and thighs, these FOXERS boxer briefs are comfortable and soft, while leaving your bikini area alone.
Once again, Dr. Drai says that loose cotton underwear is one of the better options for overcoming this particular problem. With three pairs in different colors, these Maidenform Dream boyshort underwear are made entirely from lightweight cotton that smooth and support without any bikini-area irritation. There’s also no riding up or down, and some say they’re the most comfortable underwear they’ve ever owned.
5. If You Want A Fit That Breathes More While Working Out
Instead of synthetic materials, Dr. Drai is all about the cotton when it comes to breathability. This set of five Calvin Klein stretch logo bikini underwear is made with 95 percent cotton, which means the styles are really light and breathable for wear during workouts, errands, or work. They’re also made with high-quality stitching and elastic that won’t fall apart after one wash, and people say they’re really comfortable.
That being said, if you dislike the way cotton bunches up under clothing, you can check out nylon, Lycra, or polyester underwear with cotton crotches. Made from a sleek combination of satin and lace, this BaliU underwear has a crotch that’s 100 percent cotton, so things stay dry and comfortable.
6. If You’re Getting Rashes And Don’t Know Why, Try Out Antibacterial Underwear
If you're getting mysterious rashes, Dr. Drai says, "Change your laundry detergent." You could also go for antibacterial underwear that requires less chemicals in order to clean. This ExOfficio Give-N-Go string bikini is treated with Aegis Microbe Shield, which stops germs and odor-causing bacteria to keep your underwear feeling great.
When in doubt, find a healthy pair of underwear that's ultra breathable. "Cotton is queen for fabric for the vagina," says Dr. Drai. These organic cotton briefs are made from durable fibers that last much longer than your average pair, and they’re made from non-irritating organic cotton that stays put and won’t chafe.
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