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Nothing feels better than an underwear refresh. Out with the old, in with the new!
And spring is the perfect time to restock your undies drawer. Which ones still bring you joy?! And which ones are simply taking up space? And let's be honest...which ones have seen better days?
Take some time to sort through everything and start your search for some new breathable underwear. Of course, before you buy a few new pairs, it's important to prioritize comfort and (most importantly) vaginal health when it comes to your panty purchases.
From organic cotton briefs to period panties, lacy thongs, and no-shows, the options are legit endless when it comes to underwear types. Yes, you can totally find cute and breathable underwear that's vagina-friendly—and you'll find all of the best *and* ob-gyn-approved recommendations right here.
But first, let's get a little more info on how exactly your underwear affects the vagina.
Meet the expert: Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MD, is an ob-gyn based in Westchester county, New York.
How do underwear materials affect vaginal health?
Being mindful of what your underwear is made of can save you from a host of vaginal health issues like infections and irritation. That's because yeast and bacteria tend to thrive in moist, dark places, says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MD, an ob-gyn based in Westchester county, New York.
Certain underwear materials can create that damp environment. "Breathability is really important," Dr. Dweck says. “Synthetic materials like Lycra and nylon can be confining and non-breathable and can lead to irritation, rashes, and infection, especially if you’re already prone to those things.”
That's not to say that you'll definitely get an infection if you wear underwear made of these materials. But, there are fabrics that are airier and will make your vagina much, much happier and cut down on your risk.
What material should my underwear be made of?
Cotton is the best choice when it comes to everyday wear, according to Dr. Dweck. It’s the most absorbent material and the best for promoting breathability. (And, yup, they're usually pretty affordable, too.)
If you have sensitive skin or you’ve been dealing with recurrent, persistent infections or irritation, opting for *organic* cotton or other natural material, says Dr. Dweck. Otherwise, conventional cotton is just fine.
The exception to the cotton rule is when you're working out. It's fine, and probably even beneficial, to forgo cotton when you're exercising. The best underwear to wear while working out tends to be any kind made of moisture-wicking materials, says Dr. Dweck.
Are thongs a good choice?
The good news: Thongs don't make a difference in promoting or decreasing the chance of infection or irritation. As with other styles, it’s ultimately the materials that matter. Still, if you opt for a thong, go for one that fits properly and has a cotton crotch panel, as a too-tight thong can lead to chafing, particularly if it’s a g-string style, says Dr. Dweck. (Ouch.)
And, for anyone out there who loves forgoing undies altogether, there's even better news. Occasionally, going commando is even better than opting for cotton, says Dr. Dweck. If you’re prone to vaginal infections, sleeping without underwear may help to curb them.
See below for the best, most breathable underwear options that are all ob-gyn-approved.
Emilia Benton is a Houston-based freelance writer and editor. In addition to Runner's World, she has contributed health, fitness and wellness content to Women's Health, SELF, Prevention, Healthline, and the Houston Chronicle, among other publications. She is also an 11-time marathoner, a USATF Level 1-certified running coach, and an avid traveler.
Neha Tandon is the senior commerce editor of Women's Health—she's an expert in discovering the best products and services you can buy and giving recommendations. She discovered her love for magazines when as a teen, she started stealing her mother's magazines. Determined to see more women who look like her and her family members on the glossy covers of magazines, she was guided by seasoned editors and mentors to write for brands including New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan, BRIDES, Harper's Bazaar, Business Insider, Byrdie, and Well+Good. When she’s not grilling dermatologists about the latest skincare trends, she’s doing candlelit yoga or watching Humphrey Bogart movies over vegan pizza. Follow her on Instagram.
Emily Shiffer is a freelance health and wellness writer living in Pennsylvania.
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