Made forever-famous by the 2000 earworm “The Thong Song” by rapper Sisqo, the thong underwear is a favorite of many women for a variety of reasons. Some find them more comfortable, others love never having to worry about panty lines, and some just think they’re fun and sexy. But as with anything we put near our lady bits, it’s a good idea to consider how regular use of this type of underwear could affect our vaginal health.
The first potential issue is the material the thong is made out of. Because thongs are often designed with looks in mind rather than function, they are frequently made out of fabrics other than cotton. But materials like polyester, vinyl, satin, and other sexy fabrics often used in lingerie don’t breathe as well as cotton does. And while there is usually that sweet little cotton strip on the inside of the thong, that doesn’t actually help much if the fabric on the outside isn’t breathable. Dr. Jill M. Rabin, an associate professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, an OB/GYN with Stamford Hospital, say all layers of thongs should be cotton, and if not, it could allow “more moisture to be trapped and more possible imbalance leading to infections” (via Elite Daily).
This trapping of moisture can lead to minor infections like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
Other ways thongs can impact vaginal health
Beyond the potential issue of the material is the simple fact that some thongs don’t exactly stay in place as we go about our days, especially the teeny tiny ones made of slippery material and not a whole lost of elastic. In the event that the thong slides back and forth while walking, running, dancing, or whatever else you might do on a given day, that movement can pull bacteria from your… um … back to your… um… front. We learned as little girls to “wipe front to back” for a reason; if fecal bacteria like E. coli makes its way into the vagina, that’s how infections like vaginosis or urinary tract infections happen (via Parenting.com).
And one last potential problem is wearing a thong that is too tight. This, because of how closely it presses into damp places, can cause irritation or a rash on your skin that can itself become infected. Dr. Jaime Knopman, co-founder of Truly MD and fertility specialist at CCRM New York told Elite Daily, “The issue with thongs is that wearing the wrong size, [or] too tight, could lead to a rash, which could possibly become infected. When wearing thongs, or any underwear, it should always be clean, the right size, and changed often to avoid any health issues.”
So don’t give up your favorite panties, but keep in mind to check the fabric they’re made out of, don’t wear them every single day (or at least not on days you’ll be super active), and keep them clean.
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