A gynecologist tells me once and for all if it’s okay to work out in a thong


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Photo: Getty Images/Inti St Clair

I worked out in a thong yesterday. I thought that this was completely normal until my colleague gasped in horror when she learned that I don’t workout solely in “sports” undies. If you’re like me, you’re raising your eyebrows: What are “sports underwear” and since when did people start making (let alone start purchasing) panties specifically made for sweat seshes?

Exercise underwear has several burpee-slash-spinning-friendly features: think wedgie-free and sweat-wicking materials like Spandex, lycra, and mesh. Yadda yadda. That’s what your leggings are for, I think to myself as she goes on about them. Why wouldn’t you just hit the gym donning the panties you’re already in? After all, it’s annoying enough to change your entire outfit before working out, so if that means rocking a thong beneath those leggings as you sprint on a treadmill (as I do), so be it.

I really don’t see a problem with it, especially if your knickers are cotton (you know, so that your lady parts can breathe)…and neither does a gynecologist. “I recommend working out in organic cotton underwear, as it gives the vaginal area circulation and room to breathe,” says Prudence Hall, MD, gynecologist and founder of The Hall Center. “But yeah, sure, wear a thong to work out in. If it irritates you, wear cotton briefs.”

I’m not asking much when it comes to my underwear during a workout, anyways. I just want it to protect my vagina from rubbing against my leggings, and to catch any discharge. Of course, there are other people who use their leggings as underwear and go commando underneath, which it turns out is also fine. “There are no risks with cotton leggings and no underwear,” says Dr. Hall. “If the leggings are lycra, you may be allergic to elastic or the fabric which might cause a rash. You might also be a bit more wet if the leggings don’t breathe, which might cause more vaginal yeast.” Take note while you’re shopping and that shouldn’t be too much of a problem going forward, however.

Whatever your method of choice may be when it comes to underwear and working out, Dr. Hall just recommends taking off your leggings ASAP and putting on dry pants (you know, to avoid any sort of infection). As for me? I’ll be working out in whatever I’ve worn that day—thong or otherwise.

Speaking of your lady parts, here’s how to (finally) get rid of razor bumps and ingrown hairs

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