What’s worse—a blah, shapeless pair of granny panties, or a brutal yeast infection that won’t go away? Both suck, but I think most women would choose the formless undies over the misery of an infection. And yes, sometimes it is a matter of choice, since the cut and material of most sexy women’s underwear aren’t especially conducive to wicking and air circulation down there—which experts say can directly lead to infections.
“Underwear that is made out of silk or synthetic materials is not breathable and can trap moisture, which may lead to a yeast infection,” says Dr. Mimi Secor, a nurse practitioner and spokesperson for Monistat. “Any underwear that is too tight can also create a warm, moist environment in the vaginal area and can trigger a yeast infection.” Thongs, too, are a bad idea: “They can cause bacteria to travel from the colon to the vaginal area, leading to infections,” she explains.
Yikes! So, half the underwear most of us wear is a yeast infection waiting to happen. How to deal? “To help reduce the risk of getting a yeast infection, women should keep their genital area cool and dry by wearing breathable and lightweight underwear—cotton, if possible.” And if the whole pair isn’t made of cotton, they should at least feel airy (e.g. be made of jersey or soft mesh, if not 100 percent cotton), not fit too tightly, and feature a cotton panel liner to keep your vaginal area dry (bonus points for organic ones that don’t irritate).
In the name of living itch-free without giving up entirely on pretty underwear, we found 20 pairs of undies that are cuter than your average boring granny panty—and they’ll keep you healthy, too.