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Courtesy of INVISII
Courtesy of INVISII

Working Out in the Wrong Underwear Is Suffocating Your Vagina

Picture of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor
Updated: 10 April 2017

Forget smart designs with the ability to transition from barre to bar, the latest activewear trend is all about reinventing a frequently neglected item of apparel — your underpants.

Brands like Under Armour and Sweaty Betty have always stocked a small selection of workout skivvies, but now a company dedicated entirely to fitness-specific styles is highlighting their importance.

“A woman’s current everyday underwear was never designed for exercising,” explains Hannah Tuck, Social Media and Content Manager of INVISII, a recently launched line of seamless, breathable underpants. “The bunching, twisting, riding up and the VPL that we all experience while working out is uncomfortable and distracting, especially when you live in yoga leggings.”

It’s true that form-fitting activewear styles are unforgiving when it comes to VPL, which is why many women wear thongs—or even go commando—during workouts. If, however, you’ve been turning to your regular underwear drawer, it might be time to think again, because gynecologists have legitimate hygiene concerns about lace and silk styles.

“When you exercise in non-breathable underwear like that, your vagina suffocates,” Dr. Nicole E. Williams of the Gynecology Institute of Chicago, told ELLE. “As a result, you keep more moisture trapped in that area, which increases your risk for yeast infections and pH imbalance.”

Courtesy INVISII

Courtesy of INVISII

INVISII focuses on fabrics that are lightweight and breathable with moisture-wicking technology for comfort, and styles that are seamless for virtual invisibility under leggings.

New York brand Dear Kate has gone one step further and made its underpants period-proof, too. Thanks to unique Underlux technology—two microfiber layers covered by a silky outer layer—they absorb up to three teaspoons of liquid without feeling bulky, like a pad or liner. They’re also breathable and antimicrobial, making them perfect for exercising, either on or off your period.

Besides investing in fitness-focused underwear, the best way to ensure you stay healthy down there is by resisting the temptation to rush straight to brunch after class. Shower promptly, change into clean clothes, and can go about your day feeling shiny and new.