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Preventing Infection - Your Panty Choice Makes a Difference

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

Choose the right panty to prevent infectionDoes it matter what type of panties I wear? Is one type better than another?


You’ve had your hysterectomy so now it’s time to go shopping. New panties are at the top of your list. But which should you choose?

Today, there are so many types of underwear available for women, from granny panties that completely cover your derriere and tummy, to teeny tiny thongs. They come in every size, shape, color, and fabric known to mankind. So now that your concern is not “which type will be best for my period,” how will you ever decide which ones to buy?

To help you out, here are some tips about panties and how they can impact your body. That’s right – your panties can affect your health!

Does style make a difference?

Indeed it does! Consider thongs. If you wear them while exercising, it can cause friction as they slide back and forth. This style can also put you at risk for vaginal, bladder, and urinary tract infections for a couple reasons. One, their design allows bacteria to travel from the anus to the vagina. Two, since they provide minimal coverage, your delicate areas can be exposed to other pieces of clothing which might have bacteria and germs than can then travel to the vagina.

Panties and shapewear which are too tight are also a concern, especially if you are menopausal with some vaginal issues already. They can limit airflow to the vagina, creating an environment where bacteria can grow. They can also cause friction which can be irritating to the skin. If your tight panties become wet with sweat, you're putting yourself at risk for infection since the moisture will be trapped against your skin. If your shapewear is too tight, you may also try to avoid using the restroom so you can skip the hassle of pulling them up and down. Then end result is that you may end up looking good but the cost could be a urinary tract infection.

What about material?

The type of material does make a big difference. Fabrics that don’t breathe can create a breeding ground for bacteria. But while cotton is great choice for breathability and comfort, it’s not the best choice when exercising. It can soak up your sweat, trapping moisture against your skin and putting you at risk for rashes and infection. For your workout, choose a material that wicks moisture away from your skin – maybe a nylon or polyester. For all other times, try to choose material that breathes and has a cotton liner.

How often should I change them?

If you don’t sweat or have any discharge, it can be okay to wear the same undies two days in a row. But truly, you should change your panties every day, every time you shower, every time you exercise, and every time they feel wet. Anytime there’s moisture on your panties, it could cause a yeast infection. Changing more often than not is be your best bet – and hey, that gives you an excuse for buying loads of pretty panties.

Does it matter how I wash them?

Having clean panties is essential, but how you wash them is, too. Strong detergents can be irritating to the skin, as can fabric softeners. Take the time to wash your undies separately, using gentle detergents and leaving out the fabric softeners – your vagina will thank you.

What about no panties at all?

There’s some mixed thoughts on going commando. At bedtime, go for it. It lets your private areas air out and breathe. If you are prone to night sweats, it can help keep you drier so you don’t develop a rash or yeast infection. During the day, however, going without panties eliminates a layer of protection between your delicate vagina and the germs and bacteria that exist in so many places. Reduce your risks for an infection by wearing undies and keeping your delicate bits under wraps.

What’s the bottom line?

You need to wear panties that are comfy and cool – fashionably and literally. For your health's sake, keep them clean and pay attention to any irritation. Pair panties with your activities and be sure each one has a cotton crotch.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

05-14-2016 - 10:04 AM


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