The thong has made its way from the beaches of Brazil to college campuses all over the United States. But health professionals question the health effects of this type of underwear.
“From a medical standpoint, it’s just not advisable,” said Jamie Hixon, a special registered nurse from the Escambia County Health Department in Pensacola. “Thongs should not be worn at all, for any length of time.”
Hixon said thongs are unhealthy because they irritate the urethra, causing bladder and urinary tract infections. Hixon also said women who wear thongs on a daily basis are more susceptible to vaginal and bacterial infections.
“Because the thong has little material, there is nothing protecting the vaginal area from harmful bacteria, and this is what causes bacteria to grow,” Hixon said.
Dr. Harlan Wichelhaus, an obstetrician and gynecologist with the Specialty Obstetrics Gynecology and Fertility Department in Texas City, also said there are health risks associated with constant thong wear.
Wichelhaus said lacerations of the anus and hemorrhoids can result from continuous thong wear. He also said thongs cut off circulation to the vaginal area.
Hixon advised not wearing thongs at all.
“At night, try not to wear any underwear because the more clothing you wear, the more heat that creates,” Hixon said. “More heat means more bacteria.”
Hixon said the best way to avoid vaginal infections and irritation is to practice good hygiene.
“The main thing is to keep yourself clean, and maintain your hygiene,” Hixon said. “Change your underwear every day, and clean your vaginal area every day.”
Many medical professionals deem fuller underwear more healthy, but some men don’t find full panties appealing on the opposite sex.
James Justable, 23, a senior criminal justice student from Miami, said, “…They really emphasize a woman’s butt, and it’s just more tempting to the male eye.
But Hixon and Wichelhaus said avoiding thongs altogether is the best option.
“Females always want to choose what’s sexy instead of choosing what’s healthy,” Hixon said.
However, Wichelhaus did not share Hixon’s acceptance of the butterfly thong. Because thongs cut off the circulation to the vaginal area, he does not recommend any thong. “Whether it’s a butterfly thong or a G-string, thongs should not be worn at all,” Wichelhaus said.