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Is Your Underwear Harming Your Health?  

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underwear harming your health

When you begin to experience even the most simple health concerns, it’s common to want to investigate the root cause of it. If it’s a cold you may wonder if you caught it from a coworker. If it’s a rash, you may reflect back on the previous day when you were doing yard work in what may have been poison ivy. Either way, we’re humans and we are curious by nature. Though sometimes the health issues that we’re experiencing might be caused by something less obvious. Sometimes the culprits may be hiding inside of our dresser drawers. Yes, we’re talking about your underwear… Is your underwear harming your health?

For both men and women, wearing the wrong size underwear or bras can lead to several effects on our health that you may not expect. Here are a few of the most common symptoms that can be caused by your undergarments.



There are a wide variety of fabrics, colors, and styles in which women’s underwear are available  Though mostly purchased based on personal preference, it’s important to consider which style is best for your health. Certain styles such as thongs have a higher likelihood of causing urinary tract and yeast infections. These infections are also common when underwear are too tight and don’t allow air to pass through.

It’s important to consider the various materials each product is made of as well. Cotton is great for comfort and breathability.  Synthetic varieties often create warm and moist environments which are a top pick for bacteria to breed in. It’s also common for ingrown hairs and skin rashes to develop under these conditions. Always remember to change the pair that you are wearing and wash it after each wear.


Approximately 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. Because of this, most women are surprised to discover that several of their health complaints can be easily resolved by getting properly sized for a bra that offers the right support. Both tight and loose fitting bras can cause discomfort. When a bra is too loose, there is inadequate support provided to the breasts This causes more movement during physical activities and a greater likelihood of sagging over time. This lack of support may also be the cause of the pain you experience in your shoulders and back as they are forced to work harder to support the weight of your chest. When this is the case, many women tend to roll their shoulders forward in an effort to alleviate the pain, thus causing postural issues.

Inversely, when a bra fits too tight many will experience the side effects of restriction. In addition to upper extremity pain, skin issues are very common. The tight and warm environment allows for a multitude of bacteria to develop causing issues such as acne, fungal infections, and contact dermatitis. It’s also common to experience bruising on the shoulders from tight straps. You can also develop scarring from underwires that dig into the area under the breasts over time. Tight fitting bras have also been linked to reduced blood flow. This can cause breathing issues and decreased lymph node functions which are responsible for maintaining a healthy immune system in your body. You should always take your bra off at the end of the day.  Remember to wash them properly— and get re-fitted annually.


Yes, men, you need to pay attention here, too. Just like the ladies you need answer the question, “Is underwear harming your health.?”Read on.


There are two main categories of underwear for men, comprised of boxers and briefs. According to a recent survey, the majority of men (80%) prefer to wear boxers over briefs. Though the health pros and cons of each are equal, it’s important to educate yourself on the reasons why one type may be better for your health in various situations than the other, regardless of preference.

Their looser fitting style can put a man at risk of developing skin issues. Over time as they bunch up, they can lead to friction which eventually causes jock itch, rashes, and chafing.  Because boxers have a looser fit they can be great to wear when you need something that has more breathability. Though it’s also important to know that they offer little to no support. This is particularly concerning during physical activities when there is a higher risk for injuries such as testicular torsion because of the lack of support provided to the area. If you do choose to wear boxers while exercising or participating in a sport, you should always wear a form of protection, such as an athletic cup.


While briefs may fit tighter and offer more support to an individual, they can also cause harm to your health if worn improperly. By fact, they offer greater support to the male genitalia, yet they can also inhibit the airflow to that area because of this. As the internal temperature of the area increases it can begin to pose a threat to a male’s sperm count.

Skin Issues such as fungal infections and rashes can also develop from bacteria growth that builds up in the moisture and warm environment that briefs provide. While briefs may seem like a more supportive alternative, a fit that is too tight can limit the amount of leg movement and cause numbness and pain. Additionally, tight underwear can cause digestive issues if they restrict the stomach too much. If briefs are your underwear of choice make sure you change them often and take them off at the end of the day to allow everything to breathe and relax.

There you have it. Go now to your dresser, open the drawer and do some investigating. Find those culprits— any underwear harming your health— and get rid of it. Now. Your body will thank you.

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About Anas Alaoui

Anas Alaoui

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