Why Should Women Wear Cotton Panties?

If you ever experience itching or discomfort "down there," you might find that wearing different fabrics alleviates your symptoms. Depending on the circumstances, your doctor may recommend wearing cotton panties on a daily basis. Whether you're used to not wearing underwear at all or you simply prefer synthetic materials, wearing cotton could protect your body and offer you the level of comfort you've been lacking.

A selection of different women's underwear. Credit: NAKphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Avoiding the Itch

You should see a physician if you experience persistent vaginal itching, as it can indicate a yeast infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Until then, though, the U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that switching to cotton panties may prevent avoidable irritation. Unlike many synthetics, this material is breathable and prevents the uncomfortable buildup of moisture that can lead to itching. Because the dyes and fragrances of some laundry detergents may irritate sensitive skin, washing your panties in hypoallergenic detergent may help.

Period Protection

Cotton or not, as a matter of good health you should always wear panties when you're having your menstrual period. Cotton panties, however, are generally more absorbent and less expensive than some synthetic materials, making them a practical choice during this time.

Gentle Material

Cotton boasts the trifecta of softness, absorbency and breathability. Its softness is gentle on your skin, its absorbency wicks away perspiration, and its breathability facilitates evaporation of moisture that might otherwise be trapped by synthetics like nylon or lycra and encourage the growth of bacteria.

More Considerations

Of course, this isn't to say that you should wear panties of any kind 24/7. In fact, even cotton underwear can be disadvantageous while you are sleeping. Gynecologists in "Everyday Health" warn that wearing panties overnight -- even those as breathable as cotton -- can increase the moisture and heat, creating the environment in which yeast thrives. Going without underwear at night gives your body a chance to breathe easy.

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