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Lace underwear banned in three countries, experts discuss safety

Cotton underwear is often the most comfortable option, but wearing them also has some health benefits, says Dr. Jennifer Angler, urogynecologist and co-author of “A Woman’s Guide to Her Pelvic Floor: What the F*@# Is Going Down there?” Cotton is considered the “gold standard” of panties when it comes to wicking away moisture and keeping the vaginal area clean and fresh, she said.

“The reason so many doctors recommend cotton panties, or at least cotton crosses, is that cotton is a very soft, absorbent and breathable material,” says Dr. Victoria Scott, a urogynecologist and one of Angler’s co-authors. Synthetic materials such as spandex and nylon can retain moisture and heat. This creates “an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to grow and cause infections,” Scott said. Additionally, because cotton is “a soft fabric,” it is less likely to “cause vulvar irritation,” which can be uncomfortable and painful, she added.

People with certain health conditions should wear cotton crotch underwear most of the time. “If you are prone to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or urinary tract infections, panties with cotton gussets can reduce your risk of developing infections,” Scott said. Additionally, people with vaginal dryness or vulvar irritation or pain may find that panties with cotton crotches keep them more comfortable.

Greves adds that people with diabetes or who are pregnant are at greater risk of developing yeast infections and should use cotton liners to stay healthy.

Those who want the benefits of cotton but the look of lace should look for panties with cotton gussets or cotton inserts. “The crotch is the most important part of panties for vulvar and vaginal health,” Scott explained. Underwear with a cotton crotch “allows lace, or any material, underwear to be worn, but with the comfort of cotton right where it matters most,” Angler said.

What happens if you don’t have a cotton lining?