Whats wrong with thongs?
Sales of thongs have doubled since 1996, according to Dr. Adelaide Nardone, an ob/gyn in Providence, Rhode Island, and a medical advisor for the Vagisil Women’s Health Center. Obviously, this increase in sales signifies that thongs are the underwear of choice for many women.
But wearing these comfortable, panty line-free underwear can come with unhealthy consequences. “Think about it,” says Nardone. “You have a strip of material directly connecting the vagina and the anus.” If the latter isn’t spotlessly clean, fecal content and bacteria like E. Coli and group B strep typically found in the rectal area can be tracked into the vagina. Nardone says 25 to 40 percent of women unknowingly harbor group B strep in the vagina, and the bacteria can cause problems during pregnancy.
Aside from border-crossing bacteria, the constant rubbing of thongs can cause perineal fissures--tiny tears between the rectum and vagina. “Any open cuts in that area are potential sites for infection, including STDs,” says Nardone, who adds that this problem is exacerbated if a woman shaves below the belt. “Pubic hair protects against irritation and infection, and is a barrier to trauma.”
Whether you opt for thongs or looser fitting underwear, Nardone suggests sticking with all-cotton styles or, at the very least, those with a cotton-lined crotch. “Synthetic fabrics such as spandex and acrylic can cause allergic reactions. They also trap moisture in the [vaginal] area, which creates a wonderful environment for the growth of yeast and bacteria,” she says. A dyed cotton crotch can also cause allergic reactions, so stick with reliable white.