During menopause, many women seek treatment for their vaginal dryness, including moisturizers, suppositories, and hormone therapy. These treatments can often be a great help. However, the type of underwear a woman wears can also influence vaginal health and put her at a higher risk of getting vaginal dryness, a yeast infection, or a urinary tract infection. Changing the type and material of underwear can help make women feel more comfortable and reduce the risk of infection and dryness.
What Underwear Is Right for Me?
Although there is no one type of underwear that is best for every woman in every situation, there are some guidelines that women can use to help them make decisions to keep themselves comfortable and healthy.
Cotton underwear is usually a good option for everyday wear because it doesn't trap sweat, it's breathable, and it usually doesn't irritate the skin. Synthetic fibers can sometimes agitate the skin and trap moisture, increasing the chances of an infection. There are also certain underwear styles a woman can take advantage of and others that she should avoid, especially if she is experiencing vaginal dryness.
These styles are non-irritating and can help protect against vaginal dryness.
This type of garment is the traditional cut of women's underwear. Cotton briefs are ideal because they offer full coverage, are made of natural fibers that don't irritate the skin, and in most women do not create chafing problems.
This style has subtle sexiness while still providing full coverage to protect from infections outside irritants. Most bikini cuts are made from cotton or another soft, breathable material. The lower waistline compared to briefs also complements certain pant styles.
Boxers can feel a little bulky under clothing, but sometimes they make a comfy choice. If you're going to spend the day lounging around the house or out in the garden, this underwear style is perfect for your laid-back day.
Styles That Can Increase the Risk of Agitation and Infection
These styles and the materials they are usually made out of may aggravate vaginal dryness.
This type of underwear features a high leg line, which may pull the material up and against the vagina, resulting in more irritation.
This form-control underwear is usually worn under tight-fitting clothing, which women should avoid while suffering from vaginal dryness. Tight and constricting underwear can agitate skin.
Thongs can be alright for a fun a night out (or a night in). However, it is usually not recommended to wear thongs day in and day out because they can agitate the skin. The thong part of the underwear can move fecal material to the front part of the crotch, which may result in urinary tract infections.
More Information about Vaginal Dryness
During menopause, it is common for women to experience vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy due to a lack of estrogen. Symptoms include itching, a burning or stinging sensation, and discomfort caused by certain types of clothing. However, these symptoms can usually be treated with a combination of lubricant, vaginal moisturizer, and relevant lifestyle changes. Click on the following link to read more about ways to treat vaginal dryness.
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vaginal itching and discharge - Adult and adolescent. Retrieved October 16, 2015, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003158.htm
- Office on Women's Health. (2015). Vaginal yeast infection. Retrieved October 16, 2015, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/vaginal-yeast-infections.html#