Can Leggings Cause Vaginal Infections?

You would probably marry your leggings. They are comfortable, versatile, and always look good. But health experts warn that your favorite pair of leggings or tight jeans could contribute to some unexpected health issues.

In addition to reducing the blood supply to the skin and other structures, the other problem commonly associated with tight clothing, as physicians note, is that their close contact with the skin makes one sweat more.

Such sweating ultimately proves to be a rich medium for bacteria to thrive in and grow to levels where they are able to damage the skin and cause a host of skin infections.

What tight clothes do to your body

Skin-tight pants may look good with your heels and accentuate your bum, but wearing them too tight, too often could affect your health. Remember, your vagina needs some breathing room.

Tight clothing can cause friction against sensitive genital tissues, which can lead to microscopic tears, gynecologists warn. Discomfort, discoloration, and a susceptibility to certain types of infection can follow.

Beyond that, tight clothing can trap moisture in the area, which can predispose you to yeast and other skin infections. For instance, yoga pants that are too tight can cause skin friction and excess moisture (from sweat) down there. This lets fungus and bacteria thrive, which may contribute to some not-so-sexy conditions.
Wearing clothing so close to the body increases temperature and humidity. In the genital area, this promotes the appearance of fungi and bacteria. This can cause bad odors or even vaginal health problems like yeast infections.

Environment suitable for infections

Yeast grows in warm, moist environments, and your leggings provide the perfect habitat. A yeast infection is an overgrowth of the microscopic fungus Candida, which may cause an itching, burning rash and cottage cheese-like discharge.

Yeast infections are usually easy to treat with an antifungal medicine, but if you think you’re infected, you should definitely see your doctor. If you notice vaginal itching or white and curd-like discharge, you likely have a yeast infection (or possibly another infection). Your doctor will diagnose and prescribe either an oral or topical treatments.

A lack of good legging hygiene can also throw off the balance of bacteria and lead to an overgrowth of infection-causing bacteria, which leads to bacterial vaginosis. Other things that can contribute to bacterial vaginosis, apart from wearing tight clothes, include douching, and a natural lack of lack of lactobacilli bacteria, according to the gynecologists.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis—fishy vaginal odor, itching, and maybe unusual discharge—can be mistaken for yeast infection symptoms, so it’s a good idea to see a doctor before you self treat.

Urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria enter the urethra (where pee comes out). This infection causes pain and sometimes blood while peeing, and a frequent, strong urge to go. UTIs must be treated with antibiotics (prescription is required), so, again, go to see your doctor if you think you have one.

Finally, vulvodynia is a pain disorder of the vulva (the outside area of a woman’s genitals), which causes throbbing, stinging, burning, or itching.

If you feel any of these symptoms—especially during sex, while urinating, inserting a tampon, or while wearing, er, tight pants—see a doctor. They will need to perform some tests to rule out other causes of the pain and to determine the best course of treatment, which may include taking antidepressants or topical creams.

It‘s not in the clothes

However, the theory being floated that leggings and other tight clothes on their own could cause an increase in bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections is false, plain and simple. That is not related to anything on the skin surface, doctors say.

Wearing tight clothes cannot change your vaginal microenvironment … that’s just not physiologically possible.

Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are due to your normal, healthy bacteria not keeping yeast or other bacteria under control. Which means it‘s not tight clothing items that actually cause you these vaginal problems – all they do is just make the present or potential problems in your vaginal health worse.

When looking for ways to reduce these problems, doctors advise women to avoid factors that may contribute to the problem, such as the case for leggings.

If and when a woman does experience vaginal conditions such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, gynecologists suggest it would be reasonable to lay off the tight pants until the predicament has ended, just in case.

Some tips to make your vagina happier

Well, and the key to preventing a yeast infection or another kind of vaginal infection aggravated by clothing is simple: don’t walk around all day in your sweaty tight pants! Your lady region is going to be nice and sweaty – prime real estate for a yeast infection to start flourishing. Peel off those sweaty clothes – underwear included – as soon as you can.

Don’t worry, we’d never tell you to ditch your skinny jeans altogether. It's fine to continue on with the tight jeans and pants sometimes, just make sure that's not all you're wearing. Especially not if you pair them with thongs. Just learn to give your body a break every now and then, especially if you start to feel itchy or irritated down there. Remember, your vagina will thank you later.

You can also prevent the above-mentioned painful problems by following these simple fashion-forward tips:

  • Rotate in some sweats, loose-fitting pants, or skirts once in a while. (Yep, here’s your permission to rock those joggers in public.)
  • Switch to a fresh pair of panties daily
  • Clean your groin with unscented cleansers
  • Wipe from front to back when using the restroom

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