Most women rely on thong underwear to prevent panty lines and avoid the awkward scrunching that occurs with full-fledged briefs. But that doesn’t make your much loved thongs 100-percent healthy to wear at all times, according to Jill Rabin, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine in New Hyde Park, New York.
They Can Cause Vaginal Infections
The string of a thong acts as a connector of microbes, straight from your rear to your vagina. It’s very easy for bacteria to get stuck on that string, and when it moves around throughout your busy day, those unwanted germs can get transferred to your vagina or urethra. From there, your natural vaginal secretions get thrown out of whack, and you could be facing a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Dr. Jill M. Rabin, professor of OBGYN at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told Glamour that E.coli could potentially find its way to your thong string as well, since that is the most common bacteria from your colon. E.coli is responsible for 93 percent of UTIs; although it’s not a guarantee that you’ll contract a UTI when you put on that satiny black thong, your chances of getting one definitely increases.
hey Can Cause Skin Tags
Familiar with skin tags? They’re small piles of soft tissue that accumulate in a spot where the skin is rubbed over and over again. Women sometimes see them along the bra lines after years of wearing underwired garments, but now OBGYNs are reporting that they’re also becoming common on the vulva, near the rectum. All because of thongs. Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, OBGYN at Stamford Hospital, told the Huffington Post that she’s been witnessing more skin tags during examinations or pap smears than ever before. Nearly every patient who has them admits to being an avid thong-wearer. Skin tags are not particularly dangerous things to happen to the body, but they’re not fun to have around. They look like warts and can be especially uncomfortable in a sensitive area like the vag. Plus, they have to be removed either by burning them off or through cosmetic surgery. The chafing sensation from a thong is bad enough, but knowing that it can result in something wart-like? That’s enough for me to eliminate them from my underwear drawer forever.
You Can’t Be As Active In Them
Tight workout leggings already cut off some air circulation; on its own, that wouldn’t be much of a problem. However, coupling that with a G-string might present some issues down there, since thongs already disrupt your vag’s healthy balance. Merge that with lack of air circulation, and you’ve got a prime environment for a build-up of bacteria on your hands.
You Can’t Wear Panty Liners With Them
In addition to these logistical errors, there are medical reasons that deter me from mixing the two. Dr. Rabin says that the pH levels of your vag are thrown off a little when you’re menstruating, so your likelihood of catching an infection increases. It’s not a good idea to put a thong down there when your lady parts are already that vulnerable and double your risk.
They Smell Gross & Get Weird Stains
Look, if you wear a thong for several hours at a time, that means the string sits along your anus for several hours at a time. We’re all familiar with what happens in that area of the body. You can’t expect a garment to be in that region for that long and come out smelling like roses, can you?
You’re prone to yeast or bacterial vaginal infections.
If you’re in an exclusive relationship with your thong collection and you’ve never had a problem, your immune system might be especially stellar. But if you do get yeast infections or UTIs, your thongs may be to blame, and you might want to swap them out for bikinis.
Pregnant and prone to infection. Pregnancy compromises the immune system a smidge, which can increase your risk of vaginal infections and ultimately pose risks for your baby. Besides, when you’re walking around with 30-plus extra pounds, do you really need a yeast infection to boot? Don’t risk it by wearing thongs.
You’re skipping your daily shower.
Daily washing with gentle soap can help reduce skin and vaginal infections. If you don’t hose down at least once a day, you’ll raise your infection risks.
You’re changing your tampons next to never.
While it’s unlikely that your thong could make your tampon string rub up against your rectum, then drag it forward to infect your vagina, it’s not an impossible scenario. It could happen if you change your tampon less frequently than you change your undies (which gives the string more time to sweep up bacteria). To avoid infection, use the lightest tampon for your flow and change it when it feels no more than two-thirds full — regardless of your underwear, Dr. Rabin says.
You’re stuck wearing sanitary pads.
Pads (including the genius ones designed for thong underwear) can increase the bacteria count in your vagina — particularly if you change it infrequently, Dr. Rabin says. Any change in your bacteria count could be bad news for your vagina and bladder.
You’re douching or use personal deodorants.
Dr. Rabin recommends against using these products wholeheartedly because they can mess with the natural acidity and balance of bacteria in the vagina, which for the record, can clean itself. If you still swear by a product that makes you feel squeaky clean, know that it can compromise your immunity. To minimize risk of infection, go for fuller-cut undies for extra protection from environmental hazards.
Two out of every five women under 60 deal with bladder leaks whether it’s from sports or from holding urine in too long, according to Dr. Rabin, who’s also the co-author of Mind Over Bladder. When even a few drops of acidic urine hangs out in the crotch of tight-fitting thongs, it could irritate sensitive skin and cause a rash that brings you back to diaper days. (Eek.) Talk to your doctor if you deal with leakage on the regular.
You’re not using condoms (and you have multiple partners).
This risky move sets you up for infection on its own. Thong underwear could cause additional irritation, increasing your susceptibility to contracting an STI.