Lockdown has really shaken up a lot of our everyday habits; anyone else feel like they’ve regressed to a first year University student? Office-appropriate attire has been swapped with loungewear, our trusty foundation is taking a vacation in favour of bare-faced skin and most of us haven’t touched our hairbrush in at least a week. Now that we’re lounging around in our trusty trackies or lycra, our bras and knickers seem to have been made redundant too. Let’s be honest, is there any better feeling than going commando in the privacy of your own home? Nope.But while we’re very much enjoying the comfort of not having to don our lingerie on a daily basis, we can’t help but wonder what all this freedom is doing to our body. Indeed, we recently discovered that ditching your bra can lead to a plethora of long-term problems including premature sagging. Eek. So will ditching our knickers throw up some potential pitfalls, too?“It isn’t really a case of wearing or not wearing underwear – it’s more a case of personal hygiene,” explains Ms Shirin Irani, a Consultant Gynaecologist at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull.
“Your underwear is there, basically, to absorb moisture created by vaginal discharge – a natural and healthy function not dissimilar similar to the moisture you always have in your mouth. I would advise underwear made of natural fabrics, particularly cotton, as they are able to gently absorb extra moisture. Genitals do carry a lot of bacteria, again most of it natural and healthy, so clean underwear every day is not a bad policy to follow. That can be a problem if people choose to ‘go commando’ as providing clean jeans or trousers on a daily basis is much more problematic than simply changing your knickers!”Likewise, if you are spending the lockdown in leggings, Mr Shirin Irani says natural fabric is a must and advises to keep them clean – they might not need washing daily but regularly.“People are different but, as a rule of thumb, I would suggest only wearing clothes that touch your bare genitals just once or maybe twice before you wash them,” she advises.
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What about going commando when we sleep? “If you decide to let your genitals ‘get some air’ as you sleep then that’s OK but really not essential. A healthy hygiene routine using water and a gentle cleanser or unperfumed soap is all that most women need. The actual vaginal inside your body will clean itself with natural secretions.”
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Mr Shirin Irani notes that a very useful tip for vaginal health is always wipe yourself front to back after using the toilet and concludes: “Scare stories about things like yeast infections because your vagina hasn’t had chance to breathe are exaggerated and often untrue. If you wash regularly and wear the right type of undies there is nothing to say you are more at risk than going without undies. In fact, I think undies are probably the safer option!”Conclusion? Don’t go commando.