I’m a gynaecologist & you’re buying the wrong knickers – how your pants could be damaging down there

WE all have our preference when it comes to what underwear we wear.

Some of us value comfort, others want a bit a more tummy control and some of us prefer to wear something a bit sexier.

But when it comes to down there, the skin is sensitive and wearing the wrong type of underwear could be causing more harm than good.

Gynaecologist Dr Shree Datta at intimate wellbeing brand Intimina, told Fabulous that the skin around our vaginas is some of the most delicate skin on the body, so we should be doing all we can to treat it well.

Dr Shree added: "On top of this, believe it or not, wearing the wrong type of underwear can cause vaginitis, or soreness and swelling around the vagina."

She adds that sometimes it might be best not to wear any at all, whilst you sleep it's a good idea to go commando to give the skin a chance to breath.

This leads to the question, what types of underwear are bad for down there and how often can you wear them before they cause issues?

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Whilst lace underwear may look pretty, it's best to try and avoid wearing this style all of the time, as the skin expert says lace can aggravate your skin.

If you don't want to get rid of them entirely, Dr Shree suggests wearing ones that have a cotton gusset and to make sure the fit is not too tight to avoid friction.

She adds: "Over time, if you find your skin becoming sensitive, it's worth rotating lace underwear with cotton briefs or shorts."


Thongs are great for when you're wearing a bodycon dress and want to avoid showing the seam of your underwear, however your vagina may well not be thanking you if you wear them constantly.

Dr Shree explained: "These can rub against the sensitive skin, leading to itching and soreness over time.

"It's worth considering wearing thongs for short periods of time, rather than all day every day."

Its also important to see what material your thong is made of, Dr Shree says, as synthetic materials can cause irritation to skin.


Brazilians provide great support and coverage if you're looking for something a little less showy than a thong.

But they often come in a variety of different fabrics and Dr Shree suggests to go for a more breathable material such as cotton or silk if you wear them on a day to day basis.

She added if you do want to wear this style, make sure they aren't too tight to minimise chaffing and discomfort over time.


Control Underwear

If you are having your Bridget Jones moment for the occasional night out, that's perfectly fine, but considering these cinch you in tightly it will not be good for your nether regions.

Dr Shree said: "Studies have suggested that wearing tight fitting jeans or underwear more than 4 times a week increases the risk of vulval pain.

"It's worth bearing this in mind when choosing what underwear to wear – and when."

Not only could it increase vulvar pain, but tight underwear like control pants can create a build up of heat and moisture which means you are more likely to develop a yeast infection or vaginitis.

A YouGov poll back in 2016 showed 52% of UK women preferred wearing briefs on a regular basis, valuing comfort over style.


Closely related to the thong, a G-string has even less material to work with and sits tight on your vulva skin and bum leading to irritation.

"Whilst you can wear them on occasion, if you wear them too often, you may notice your skin becoming more sensitive and sore over time.

"They may also end up introducing bacteria from the bowel to the vagina." Dr Shree adds.

Maybe it's time to say goodbye to the G-string once and for all then?


Boy shorts, booty shorts, boys' cut, whatever you want to call them are a great style to wear for every day use.

This design tends to go all the way down to the hip and Dr Shree adds so long as they are not too tight and in a breathable material like cotton or silk, they should serve down there quite well.


The humble high waisted brief is a winner for Dr Shree and the UK population.

A YouGov poll back in 2016 showed 52% of UK women wore this design on a regular basis, preferring comfort over style.

"High waisted cotton briefs are undoubtedly the kindest to your vaginal skin, as cotton is "Breathable" and briefs do not chafe or rub against your vulva or bum.

"This is probably your best bet for everyday wear." She adds.

Dr Shree concludes that there are a variety of other factors to consider when looking after your vagina, such as avoiding fabric softener and biological washing detergent and ditching the vaginal deodorant, wipes, scented soaps and dark underwear which may aggravate an allergy.

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