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This is a gynaecologist’s guide to underwear hygiene for a healthy vagina

Published on:24 March 2020, 17:02pm IST
While you’re confused between the colour and pattern of your panties, there’s something more confusing than that-how to maintain underwear hygiene.
Shreya Gupta
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That underwear is not forever! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

While we’re often guilty of hoarding our panties till the time they have faded or have holes in them, most of us choose aesthetically appealing underwear over good quality ones. In this very process, we somewhat forget its main role–to maintain overall hygiene down there.

Underwear keeps our vagina dry and clean, and also offers comfort. While, wearing underwear has a plethora of benefits maintaining underwear hygiene is even more important–as it prevents any microbe or bacteria from accumulating and fester in and around the vagina. This also helps in preventing any bad odour and itchiness. 

Here we got a gynaecologist to get give you a lowdown on usage, disposal, and overall underwear hygiene. Trust us, your lady bits will thank you for it!

First and foremost: choose the right material
No matter how much you love beautiful prints, sexy lace, or that uniquely cut underwear, if it’s not made of 100% cotton–it’s not good for your vagina. While it’s fine to wear that sexy lingerie for that special evening but don’t ever go for synthetic materials like nylon, polyester for the daily panties as it can trigger chafing and redness. 

“It is recommended to wear only cotton underwear on a daily basis as it allows the skin to breathe. It also helps to absorb the moisture, sweat, or discharge better than any fabric,” suggests Dr Deepa Dewan, associate director & head of the unit, obstetrics and gynecology, Max Hospital, Gurgaon.

Don’t restrict yourself to the unsaid rule: one undie a day
While most of the women change underwear once a day–there’s no hard and fast rule. If you feel the need to change it more than once, do it. If there’s vaginal discharge, its always better to change to keep the moisture at bay. 

underwear hygeine
Wearing more than one underwear is actually a healthy choice, girls. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“If you go to the gym and sweat a lot there, you should be changing that pair of underwear,” Dr Deepa recommends. She also suggests changing underwear more frequently on periods as it gets soiled easily. 

The long dilemma: To go commando or not at night?
Going panty-free to bed can make a whole lot of difference for women who deal with regular yeast infections. It allows the area to breathe overnight and avoid moisture buildup.

While going commando at night has no such downside, it is completely subjective. While one may feel more comfortable without it, the other person may feel uncomfortable. So take your own call, Ladies!

Also, Read: Suspect vaginal yeast infection? These 5 home remedies will help you a great deal

Take care of your delicates: Here’s how to wash them properly
Underwear is delicate and must be handled with more care than the rest of your wardrobe. If you can, try washing them separately although it’s not necessary. But, because underwear clings to your sensitive skin area for long periods of time it is suggested to wash it separately to avoid the transfer of bacteria from other clothes to them.

Vaginal yeast infection
Wash your intimate clothes with utmost care or it could become a breeding ground for bacteria. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Always use detergent which is both–gentle and powerful. After washing, hang outside under the direct sun to dry as the sun acts as a natural sanitizer. The sun’s ultraviolet rays shall help kill bacteria. 

Also, Read: It’s time to improve your relationship with your vagina. Here’s how you can make that happen

Finally: When to finally bid adieu to your briefs?
While there’s no general rule, Dr Deepa suggests considering changing your complete set of undergarments every year. But if it starts smelling or has lost its elasticity, it is the time you switch to a new set of undergarments. The basic idea is to always have a clean set of underwear. 

So, to improve your relationship with the vagina don’t forget–underwear hygiene is of utmost importance.

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Shreya Gupta Shreya Gupta

Finding nirvana in good food, Shreya also loves reading books and is a die-hard Potterhead. Confident and motivated she's fun to be with. Plus food. Always.