Thong Threat: Do They Really Put Our Health at Risk?
What you should know before hitting the lingerie section at Macy’s!
-Vicki Santillano, Divine Caroline
Chocolate versus vanilla. Coke versus Pepsi. PCs versus Macs. At various points in our lives, we all pledge allegiance to one flavor, brand, or model over another. That’s equally true in the lingerie department, where women must decide between two camps of the underwear world: thongs versus, well, everything else. In fact, ask most women where they stand, and you’ll find that they’re either vehemently pro- or vehemently anti-thong. Thong enthusiasts will say that there’s no other surefire way to prevent the dreaded VPL (visible panty line … I shudder to even type it out). But haters argue that aside from being uncomfortable (read: feeling like you’ve got a permanent wedgie), thongs make women more susceptible to infections and a host of other nasty conditions.
If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI)—which anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of women experience at least once—or similar issue in the genital area, you’ve no doubt heard from doctors or medical guides to avoid thongs. But does this particular type of underwear actually increase the risk of certain health problems?
A Potential for Problems
There’s a reason why thongs seem to be likely candidates as harbingers of bacteria. For one, just look at where they’re placed! Like all underwear, thongs are meant to shield a highly sensitive area from the rough material of exterior clothing. But thongs are merely thin strips of fabric that get all up in your business more than they bar anything from it. So if they move around, such as when we’re walking, it’s possible that the thongs will become convenient transportation devices for bacteria from the anus (like E. coli, a frequent culprit behind UTIs) to the vaginal region, where it could move into the urethra, bladder, and even farther if left untreated.
Aside from being potential vehicles for infectious bacteria, thongs are made of material that might itself irritate the delicate tissues in the vagina and anus if it rubs up against them too much, which could lead to inflammation and eventually infection if there’s an open wound. Thongs are also anecdotally linked to yeast infections for the same bacteria-encouraging reason, as well as to external hemorrhoids, due to the possible chafing of anal tissues. But the key term here is anecdotally—because none of these health risks, including the oft-cited UTI, are scientifically proven to be caused by thong underwear.