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Expert warns wearing knickers leads to vaginal infection

  • Wearing knickers can increase heat and sweat in the genital area
  • This can create a breading ground for bacteria and up risk of vaginal infections
  • Underwear made of lace or non-breathable material bring an increased chance
  • Expert suggests going commando when possible – at night time is easy option

Wearing underwear can increase a woman’s risk of developing a yeast and other types of vaginal infection, a gynaecologist has warned. 

Knickers build up heat and sweat in the genital area which creates a breading ground for bacteria, according to New York women’s health expert Dr Donnica Moore.

And if your underwear is lace or made of non-breathable material, the risk is increased.

These materials can irritate the delicate skin of the vagina and cause rashes and allergic reactions.

The expert suggests going commando when possible – doing so at night time is an easy option for most women, claims Dr Moore.

Speaking to Health, gynaecologist Dr Moore explained: ‘It’s not good to always have the lady parts locked up. They need air like all other parts of your body.’ 

Wearing underwear made of lace or non-breathable material increases the risk of rashes and allergic reactions (stock photo)

Beware of tight pants

However, there is a potential health problem to consider when ditching your under garments.

Seams running along the crotch of tight-fitting trousers such as skinny jeans and leggings can rub and irritate your labia and vulva and according to Dr Moore ‘can lead to very small nicks in the skin that act as portals for bacteria.’

‘You run the risk of irritation and chafing when you wear garments not meant to come into contact with your vulva,’ she explained. 

If you do wear tight trousers, she advises wearing light, cotton underwear.

The good news is that if you’re worried about ‘picking something up’ while wearing  skirt or dress and going commando, Dr Moore said there is nothing to be concerned about.

Bugs, dust or dirt particles are unlikely to make their way into your crotch she said. 

Previous hygiene warnings

Previous research suggests women who use shower gels and soaps in intimate areas are putting themselves at higher risk of developing sexually transmitted infections, experts have warned.

Academics at the University of California, Los Angeles, have revealed that soaps and lubricants can damage sensitive tissues and raise a woman’s chance of becoming infected with herpes, chlamydia and HIV.

Study leader Joelle Brown said there is ‘mounting evidence’ that using these products internally can increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis – a condition that occurs when the bacterial balance becomes disrupted – and sexually transmitted infections. 


Women who douche are twice as likely to develop ovarian cancer, a national US study shows.

Prior research has linked douching, or vaginal washing with a device, to yeast infections, pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancies.

Experts have also found associations between douching and cervical cancer, reduced fertility, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

But the new National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences study is the first to tie cancer of the ovaries to the procedure routinely practiced by millions of American women.

Joelle Brown, an epidemiology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said that although she knew about other health problems associated with douching, the link between douching and ovarian cancer took her by surprise.

‘While most doctors and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend that women do not douche, many women continue to douche because they falsely perceive douching to have positive health benefits, such as increased cleanliness,’ said the expert, who was not involved in the current study.


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