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Hygiene watch for under- garments

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th July 2011 03:00 AM

LINGERIE comes in different fabrics, patterns, colours and designs and as such, many a person are spoilt for choice when shopping. But does it matter what choice you make? Do some types of undergarments present health implications on the wearer?

LINGERIE comes in different fabrics, patterns, colours and designs and as such, many a person are spoilt for choice when shopping. But does it matter what choice you make? Do some types of undergarments present health implications on the wearer?

By Joyce Nyakato
LINGERIE comes in different fabrics, patterns, colours and designs and as such, many a person are spoilt for choice when shopping. But does it matter what choice you make? Do some types of undergarments present health implications on the wearer?

“Although the wearer will feel comfortable and in full control while wearing a fitting undergarment, we should always try to avoid extremely tight clothing as it keeps the area wet and warm when one sweats,” warns Dr Duncan Nduhura, a medical practitioner at International Hospital Kampala.

According to him, the biggest risk in wearing poor lingerie for women is the reoccurrence of candidiasis, a kind of yeast infection. Wet and warm is an ideal environment for yeast infections to flourish. Yeast thrives in dark and damp places. By wearing tight-fitting clothing, one creates a conducive environment for yeast to flourish.

Dr Nduhura advises that one should change underwear as often as possible especially in the case of a yeast infection. This leaves less moisture and warmth for the yeast to flourish. And if you are wearing a sanitary pad, tampon or a panty liner, you should change as frequently as possible.

Apart from the shape and size, selection of the perfect material is also very necessary. When buying panties, one should choose the best quality, preferably those made of organic fabric.

Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester tend to retain moisture and attract yeast infections. Instead, choose light and airy material like cotton, which allows the body to perspire as the fabric soaks up moisture, keeping the area dry. There is a reason why designers of underwear are required to sew cotton crotches onto the underwear.

Sydney Singer, the author of a study called Dressed to kill: The link between Breast Cancer and Bras, claims that using a bra for too long could stimulate breast cancer formation.

“To avoid breast cancer, women should not wear a bra for more than 12 hours a day,” suggests his study, which showed that wearing a bra over 12 hours daily dramatically increases the risk of breast cancer.

However, his study has met a lot of criticism from medics who insist that there is no link between bras and breast cancer.

Because of the sensitive areas that the undergarments cover, they should never be shared. Bras and knickers can aid the spread of fungal and skin infections rapidly. Second-hand lingerie, like any other clothes, may transfer skin infections from the original wearer to the one who has bought it.

Although, in most cases, second-hand clothes are disinfected, one can never know if they are allergic to the chemicals used to disinfect the clothes: “To attain maximum hygiene, one should wash any clothes before wearing them,” Dr. Nduhura says.

Experts also assert that using medicated and perfumed soaps to wash knickers alters the natural pH of the vagina creating risks for candidiasis. PH is the degree of acidity and alkalinity of a substance.

According to Dr. Ben Ayiko of Entebbe Hospital, when one wears a fabric such as polyester which retains moisture, it makes the environment conducive for fungal growth.

Fungi often thrives in humid and warm conditions and when knickers or bras are kept on for a long time, one is susceptible to fungal infections. Even during storage, knickers should be hanged in an aerated space to allow them dry well before one puts them on.

“The best time to rest your breasts without wearing a bra is during sleep. Do not sleep in a bra,” he says. He explains that while sleeping, one should wear loose-fitting underwear made of a fabric that allows free air movement (preferably cotton) or, better still, not wear underwear at all.

Wearing tight underwear or a pair of polyester panties while you sleep can lock in the moisture and lead to yeast infections.

Nduhura advises men to wear loose underwear like boxers, preferably cotton, to allow the testicles to lower their temperature, keeping the sperm in good quality.

Tips for lingerie usage
When buying panties or underwear, choose those made of cotton fabric or at least those with a cotton crotch.

The breasts are usually not equal in size, choose a bra that fits the larger breast to avoid squeezing it as this may result in breast deformity. You can then use a sponge to reinforce the smaller breast.

Opt for loose-fitting underwear to allow aerati on.

Hang undergarments in open space to allow them to dry and aerate properly.

Hygiene watch for under- garments

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