Thongs: Bad For Your Health?

by at . Comments

As Sisqo once sang, let me see that thong! Thong, thong, thong, thong, thong. Well, easy there. Not only is that a bad song, the item may be bad for you.

Sometimes they're too tight, sometimes they rub the wrong way and sometimes they just don't feel all that clean. Experts suggest that they are not.

Thongs aren't necessarily bad, says Jill M. Rabin, Professor or Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

"If somebody's healthy, there aren't really any dangers," she says, however, "The issue is if you have a predisposition to getting infections, either urinary or vaginal."

In that case, "it may be harder to get rid of it if you're wearing a thong."

What are the features of thongs that put you at risk for health issues?

Many thongs, particularly lacy kinds, are non-breathable material.

"We should all always be wearing all cotton underwear," Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, an OB/GYN with Stamford Hospital, in Conn., advises on the subject.

This includes the material of the entire panty, not just crotch.

"When patients say [to me], 'But the crotch is cotton,' my response is that the layer outside the crotch is not, thus making the cotton less breathable."

As such, more moisture to be trapped, which is never good.

Even if the entire garment is cotton, the shape creates an inherent risk. "The patient's vulva is much more 'exposed' to whatever they're wearing," Dr. Ghofrany explains.

As a result, inevitably, "given the increase in leggings and 'skinny' jeans, all of which have Lycra, Spandex, etc., there again is trapped moisture."

Lastly, the thin band of material at the crotch tends to move around, possibly transferring bacteria from one spot to another. As Dr. Rabin says:

"If you have a little bacteria - E. coli is the most common bacteria in the colon - in the back part of the fabric and you're physically active, that material may move."

"All it has to do is move an inch or two and it's next to the vagina or urethra. That thong may be depositing colonic bacteria into your vagina or urethra."


Beyond infection and irritation, are there more dangerous medical risks. Dr. Ghofrany says thongs won't cause hemorrhoids, but they can exacerbate them.

"If the thong is kind of 'hiked up' in there, it can irritate the rectum and further hemorrhoids," she says. "But hemorrhoids can't actually be blamed on thongs."

Wearing a thong while you're on your period may slightly increase those risks, and if you're already prone to infections, your period is a vulnerable time.

"The pH of the vagina is normally acid pH, and blood raises your pH. So when your pH goes up, that's when bacteria has a better chance of growing," she says.

Bottom line, though, is that despite the risks, thongs are still generally safe ... just be advised. The sexiness and panty-line-free look could come at a price.

And pull your pants up in public, please.

Tags: , ,