Coochie Conversations: Why Underwear Matters by Dr. Leisha Laird

September 25, 2019

Coochie Conversations: Why Underwear Matters by Dr. Leisha Laird

In this edition, Dr. Leisha Laird has us thinking about what we wear on our body being as important as what we put into it, why you want to save your frillies for special occasions and why, when it comes to underwear, mother might actually have known best. 



Why Underwear Matter

 
A question I am often asked in the clinic is, “Why did I get a urinary tract infection (or yeast infection)? “  At that point we dive into digestion, their microbiome, medical history and what foods they are commonly eating.  We take a thorough look at the inner world of their body. 
 
Yet, we can’t stop there. 
 
What we take into our body and what we are wearing against our body, both matter.
 
Underwear is a common touch point in the clinic for women and teenage girls and one take-home message I give is:  cotton. 
 
The pelvic floor is a source of abundant fluid for women and we don’t talk frankly enough about it.  At different points in a woman’s cycle, cervical fluid will increase or change texture.  When we exercise, cervical fluid can release.  Moisture from exercise increases dampness in the whole pelvic floor region.  Intimacy increases fluid levels left in the vaginal track. 
 
The bottom line: this is a damp area.
 
Bacteria, love dampness.  We complicate that matter with the fact that the vaginal and anal opening are relatively close in proximity.  Fecal matter that contains bacteria (E.coli being an example), doesn’t have far to travel and enter the urethra, which can lead to urinary tract infections (UTI’s). 
 
What problem does your synthetic and lace underwear present?  These materials hold moisture close to the skin, keeping the vaginal area warm and moist.  This is the perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacterial overgrowth.  Those with sensitive skin can react to synthetics, increasing the propensity for overgrowth.
 
Cotton, however, breathes and absorbs moisture.  Keeping you dry.
 
Here are a few suggestions that your whole pelvic floor will thank you for:

  • Wear cotton (or, other natural, breathable fabric) 
  • After a workout, change into dry underwear
  • If you are having issues with yeast or UTI’s consider switching away from thong based underwear or, make sure they fit properly.  Too much travel in the material leaves the opportunity for bacteria to travel with it.
  • Nutritionally, consider adding ferments, filled with prebiotics, into your diet. 

 
The bottom line?  Your mom’s advice was right, wear cotton.  Leave the frilly lace for your night out on the town.



Leisha Laird is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, registered acupuncturist and founder of Flourish Wellness, based in Calgary, Alberta.

Follow along at: @flourishwellnesscentre





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