Why You Should ALWAYS Change Your Underwear After A Workout

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December 13, 2022

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Things have come a long way when it comes to women’s wellness and many topics that were once taboo - such as menstrual cycles, mental health, pap smears and breast checks - are now just part of everyday conversation. 

But one thing that still might not make the cut when it comes to morning tea chit-chat with your work wife? Infections of your nether regions. If you’ve ever had a yeast or urinary tract infection, you’ll know it’s something you never want to experience again. 

Luckily, there are things you can do to keep things healthy and in balance down below. If you’re someone who is leading an active, sweaty lifestyle, you might be wondering if you need to change your underwear after every workout. 

Whether you feel hot and clammy, quite damp, or completely drenched in sweat, the answer is always yes. Here’s why.

Sweat downstairs is different

Sweating is a natural part of being human and a clever way our bodies work to keep us cool when things heat up, but it’s not necessarily a sign of a good workout

Factors such as genetics, hormones, climate and lifestyle will have an impact on how much you sweat, but most people sweat more in areas such as the armpits and groin due to the high concentration of sweat glands and hair follicles. 

Let’s make this clear, sweating itself is not an issue or cause for concern, and neither is sweat around your groin. The issue is what you do afterwards, as walking around in sweaty shorts or underwear poses far more health risks than a sweaty tee.

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Don’t let bacteria have a chance

As ick as it might sound, your groin is full of sweat glands, hair follicles and bacteria, which is an infection waiting to happen if you don’t maintain good hygiene.

According to John Hopkins Medicine and Mayo Clinic, your vagina and the surrounding area has a natural, healthy balance of bacteria and yeast, but staying in damp or wet clothes can provide the ideal warm, humid environment for that yeast and bacteria to multiply. Regularly washing your activewear is also key!

Try to have a shower, dry off and change into a clean, dry pair as soon as you can to prevent your risk of developing skin irritations, a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis - which can lead to rashes, burning and itching down below and require medical treatment.

If you’re experiencing itching, unusual discharge or odour changes, or pain during urination or sexual intercourse, it’s best to see your healthcare professional.

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Fabric and fit

If you’re someone who sweats a fair bit, your choice of activewear can make a big difference. Many brands now sell underwear with moisture-wicking technology, designed to draw sweat away from your skin towards the outside of the fabric where it can evaporate quickly and keep you feeling drier on the inside. 

Otherwise, look for light, natural fabrics like cotton rather than synthetic materials which don’t breathe and can trap sweat against your skin. The only thing to be mindful of with cotton is that it retains moisture longer than sweat-wicking fabrics, meaning you might feel more damp. Wearing sweat-wicking shorts, leggings or looser gym shorts can be another great way to stay cool during even the hottest of workouts.

What about the cut? Many women prefer to wear a thong or g-string to work out in, either for comfort, to remove VPL (visible panty lines), or reduce the need for adjustments mid-workout. Your underwear of choice is completely down to personal preference, but it can be a good habit to have a post-workout wee and change into a fresh pair to avoid bacteria travelling from back to front and causing a urinary tract infection. The worst.

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Keep things fresh

Aside from doing your best to quickly change out of your sweaty underwear, it’s also a good idea to refresh your underwear drawer every 6-12 months as bacteria can accumulate in the fabric over time - even if you’re washing them properly! 

Let’s be honest, we’ve all had days where we finish our workout and for some reason or another, don’t hop straight in the shower. Perhaps you’re too hungry and head straight to the kitchen for a post-workout snack, you need to dash to the supermarket, or you’ve somehow ended up five episodes deep in a new show. Whatever the reason, consider changing out of your sweaty underwear first.

Fresh… but not TOO fresh

What about liners and antiperspirants? Surely that’s a good option? Not so fast. Unfortunately, most liners aren’t breathable, which can make you sweat more and trap heat when you’re trying to do the opposite.

Female genitalia also has a natural delicate balance of bacteria, which the chemicals in antiperspirants can disrupt, thereby increasing your risk of infection. The moral of the story? Synthetic fibres and chemicals are best kept for other parts of your body.

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Ready for your first workout?

Sweaty down below post-workout? Give yourself a pat on the back for smashing out an epic training session, then do what you gotta do. Have a shower, dry off and get changed. And at the very least, change into a fresh pair of underwear. We want you to feel happy and healthy - from head to toe and everywhere in between.

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A more empowered you starts with Sweat, and our editorial team is here to bring you the latest fitness tips, trainer recommendations, wellbeing news, nutritional advice, nourishing recipes and free workouts.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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