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Are thongs really as bad as their reputation?

You can forget these prejudices about thongs. 20min asked Johanna Janku, a specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics, about this topic.

Dr Johanna Janku, why do thongs have such a bad reputation?

A thong is an underwear with a thin waistband around the hips and bottom. With a thong, there is even less fabric around the buttocks. One reason that this type of underwear is in disrepute is that it has become a social debate.

What do you mean?

Often the thong or the string is considered too revealing. Since the string or fabric of the thong and thong creates close contact between the anus and labia, the question also arises as to whether germs could be transmitted in this way. However, it is important to realise that these prejudices are also fuelled by social and cultural aspects.

Is it true that thongs can change the pH value of the vagina?

If the underwear - as is often the case with thongs - is made of a synthetic material such as polyester that is not breathable, this can cause it to become moister in the vagina. This makes it much easier for fungi to grow. The material of the underwear is crucial, not the cut. The inside of the vagina has a well-developed vaginal flora that serves as an immune defence. It needs an acidic pH to ensure a functional immune defence. Other things that can change the pH level include vaginal douching and cleaning from inside the vagina, which should be avoided at all costs.

Thongs are often blamed for bladder infections or vaginal fungus: rightly so?

I have not found any data that thongs per se could be responsible for infections of the urinary and genital tract. What is important is the material of the underwear, the sexual practices one engages in, that one goes to the toilet after sexual intercourse, that one cleans from front to back and that the thong fits.

How do you know that your underwear fits?

If you constantly feel like you have to tug at your underwear, then the thong is probably too tight. It's supposed to be comfortable. If it's too tight, it can also cause skin irritation.

Who should avoid wearing thongs?

I would advise people with diseases of the anus, such as haemorrhoids, to wear different underwear.

Is it true that thongs can mix anal and vaginal secretions, allowing bacteria to get to places where they shouldn't be?

If you're pulling on the outside of your pants all the time, germs can also get from the anus to the vagina. If you wear a comfortable model made of cotton that is soft and allows air to reach your private parts, thongs are no problem!

Even every day if you want to?

If the material and size fit, there's absolutely nothing to be said against it.

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