Why do my undies smell?
November 23, 2005 3:20 AM   Subscribe

Underwear material+vaginal discharge= strong odor?

I've noticed that when I wear certain underwear, i have an issue with odorous vaginal discharge that isn't normally a problem. Is it possible/conceivable that there is a chemical reaction between my discharge and the underwear material? Has anyone else experienced this?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
One probable cause would be that the odor is dependent on the fabric material of the underwear.
Cotton is usually the fabric of choice when it comes to underwear because it "breathes" and usually doesn't cause any reactions. I've noticed the fancier the underthing, the more likely its going to be made of some synthetic material that may trap moisture, bacteria, etc. - resulting in irritation, odor and/or general ickyness.
posted by dicaxpuella at 4:25 AM on November 23, 2005

What dicaxpuella said, definitely. Synthetic material (not to mention pantyhose, tight clothing, etc.) can trap moisture in the crotchal region, creating an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and yeast and leading to all sorts of unpleasant things.
posted by purplemonkie at 5:52 AM on November 23, 2005

Thirded. Once I switched to cotton underwear any odor decreased by at least 80%. No more yeasties too.
posted by Constant Reader at 7:11 AM on November 23, 2005

Anything 'non-cotton' gives me the worst problems there. Also doesn't help that I have to wear synthetic trousers to work.
As well as the material just not being 'breathable', it tends to be more liable to static buildup and heat, which can be painful and create infections.

Stay away from the man-made materials if possible. I stick to cotton nowadays and have far far fewer problems.
posted by lemonpillows at 8:07 AM on November 23, 2005

Cotton. And change your undies after work - it will make you feel fresher.

(Constant Reader, totally o/t, but your quantification of the odor decrease - 80%, how precise! - cracked me up the first time I read it.)
posted by SashaPT at 8:33 AM on November 23, 2005

Yes. Cotton is the way to go, the number-one choice of the discerning vagina. More than a few hours of any other fabric (long enough, fortunately, to go on a hot date and then get into someone's pants, enabling me to get out of mine) is just asking for trouble.
posted by hilatron at 8:44 AM on November 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

SashaPT - I'm glad to have made you laugh. Pre-holiday stress has left me tired which leads to me being a bit too literal.

On topic - Panty shields are also recommended for discharge. You can change them throughout the day which leaves your underwear fresh.
posted by Constant Reader at 8:47 AM on November 23, 2005

Anyone had any experience with silk underwear?
posted by luneray at 11:06 AM on November 23, 2005

"crotchal region" lol
posted by jockc at 11:10 AM on November 23, 2005

Cottons already been mentioned, so I'll just add that you should think about trying panty liners. Just have a little make-up bag filled with them by your desk and change them when you go to the bathroom. You'll feel dry and save your panties any unpleasantness. :)
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:59 AM on November 23, 2005

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