Earlier this year, an influencer shared a genius hack for dealing with camel toe, which involved putting bra padding into the little pocket in women’s underwear. Pretty clever, if you ask us.
We soon got to thinking (yes, that’s a Carrie Bradshaw reference), ‘What is that little pocket actually for?’ After a quick brainstorm, we came up with the following suggestions: a) it’s for storing essentials, like tampons (or err, sweets?); b) it’s there so lingerie designers can use leftover fabric; and c) it’s maybe more comfortable?
Well it turns out we were half right with that last one. The little pocket is actually called the gusset, and it serves a very important purpose for maintaining vaginal health.
While women’s underwear is often made from synthetic materials, such as lace, the gusset is usually made from cotton – a more breathable material, which absorbs discharge and other moistures more effectively than its synthetic counterparts. This decreases the likelihood of of yeast infections, which – we can all agree – is a Good Thing.
According to Dr. Shirin Lakhani, a cosmetic doctor and intimate health expert at Elite Aesthetics:
“When we walk around all day in the same pair of knickers, our body produces sweat and moisture as we go, and this can then become trapped in our underwear – the bacteria in our sweat can be absorbed by underwear which is then held against the intimate areas such as the vulva and anus, causing a build-up.”
Dr. Lakhani continues, “This build-up of sweat can also alter the natural PH level of the vagina which in turn can increase the likelihood of conditions such as Bacterial Vaginosis, yeast infections and UTIs. Yeast and bacteria actually thrive in moist, dark places and certain underwear materials can create that damp environment – especially if there is no lining to protect the vagina.”
So, what should you look for when buying underwear? Well, according to Dr. Lakahni, “You want to look for breathability – materials like lycra and nylon definitely don’t let the vagina breathe, and although you won’t 100% get an infection if you wear underwear made of these materials, to reduce the risks you might want to avoid them.”
Don’t worry, we won’t judge you if you’re not ready to part with your thong just yet.
For more from Glamour UK’s Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.