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We have all heard — and studies have confirmed — that very tight clothing and fully synthetic underwear increases your risk of vaginal and urinary infections as a woman. You'll also have listened to the voices of proponents of both cotton underwear and "going commando". So what's better? Wearing cotton undies or no undies at all? The answer isn't as straightforward as one might assume, so let's find out more. 

What You Need To Know When You Choose Underpants

The material of your underwear matters, and so does its tightness. 

Cotton is, on the whole, seen as a natural material that doesn't irritate your privates the way nylon might. Unlike silk, likewise a natural fiber, cotton also wicks moisture, which helps prevent friction that can lead to nasty skin rashes. This doesn't, however, mean that your entire undergarment needs to be made from cotton — it's quite enough if only the crotch is lined with cotton. Avoid underpants that do not have a cotton crotch, however. 

Note: You can still experience skin irritation if you choose cotton underpants, due to the laundry detergent you've chosen. Avoid using too much detergent when you run a load of laundry, and try a more natural and sensitive washing powder or liquid if you notice a skin rash (contact dermatitis).

No matter the material of your underwear, you want to avoid anything too tight. While thongs and slimming shape wear are particularly likely to make you uncomfortable and increase your risk of urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections and assorted bacterial infections, even cotton underwear that is simply too small for you can make your life uncomfortable. Tightness around the waist and friction against your labia can both result in skin problems you'd rather skip. 

Nudity Has Health Benefits, But Watch Out

Many doctors will either actively advise you to sleep naked or at least acknowledge the potential health benefits of letting your genital region breathe during this time. When you're asleep, going commando means you can be free from the restrictions of tight clothing, including underwear — and there's nothing else for your delicate skin to rub against. 

The daytime brings different challenges, if you're going to be wearing other clothes. Underwear is designed to have a smooth lining that protects your private parts. Unlike pants, it won't have seams in uncomfortable places. Additionally, the materials used in pants will not be designed with your genital health in mind. Nobody really wants wool, corduroy, stiff cotton, or anything else to sit directly against their genital area!

In Conclusion

In conclusion, cotton underwear or underwear with a cotton crotch is best during the day, while you may try sleeping naked at night. Your personal hygiene is even more important than the kind of underwear you choose, however, with research showing that deployed female members of the military have an increased risk of all kinds of vaginal infections even if they wear cotton underpants, in large part due to a lack of shower opportunities and hygiene products.

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