Too-tight pants could be bad for your health.
Ah, skinny jeans. These tight, slim-ankled pants are a closet staple and unlike, say, those acid-washed pairs from the 80s, it looks like they’re a trend that’s here to stay.
Skin-tight pants may look good with your heels and accentuate your bum, but wearing them too tight, too often could affect your health. Pants that are too tight can cause skin friction and excess moisture (from sweat) down there. This lets fungus and bacteria thrive, which may contribute to these not-so-sexy conditions:
1. Jock itch (ringworm). Sorry, ladies, it’s not just for men. This red, itchy fungal rash doesn’t discriminate. Jock itch usually starts in the groin, and if not treated, can spread to the thighs, buttocks, or anus. In most cases it can be treated with OTC antifungal cream, but if it persists, see a doc.
2. Yeast infection. A yeast infection is an overgrowth of the microscopic fungus Candida, which may cause an itching, burning rash and cottage cheese-like discharge. Yeast infections are usually easy to treat with an OTC antifungal medicine, but you should still see your doctor if you think you’re infected. Yeast infections share similar symptoms with other vaginal infections and sexually transmitted infections that are more serious.
3. Urinary tract infection. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urethra (where pee comes out). It causes pain and sometimes blood while peeing, and a frequent, strong urge to go. UTIs must be treated with antibiotics (prescription required), so see your doctor if you think you have one. If a UTI is left untreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys. Here are clear signs you could have a UTI.
4. Vulvodynia. Vulvodynia is a pain disorder of the vulva (the outside area of a woman’s genitals), which causes throbbing, stinging, burning, or itching. If you feel any of these symptoms—especially during sex, while urinating, inserting a tampon, or while wearing, er, tight pants—see a doc. They’ll need to perform tests to rule out other causes of the pain, and to determine the best course of treatment, which may include taking anticonvulsants, antidepressants, opioids, or topical creams.
Don’t worry: We’d never tell you to ditch your skinny jeans altogether. But you can prevent these painful problems by following these fashion-forward tips:
- Rotate in some sweats, loose-fitting pants, or skirts once in a while. (Yep, here’s your permission to rock those joggers in public.)
- Don’t wear underwear that’s too tight … or make these other underwear mistakes either.
- Switch to a fresh pair of panties daily.
- Clean your groin with unscented cleansers.
- Wipe from front to back when using the restroom.
JOCK ITCH (TINEA CRURIS). UpToDate. (Accessed on December 31, 2021at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/ringworm-including-athletes-foot-and-jock-itch-beyond-the-basics?view=print#H4)
Vaginal Yeast Infections. Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Accessed on December 31, 2021 at https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/vaginal-yeast-infections)
Urinary tract infection in women. U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. (Accessed on December 31, 2021 at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000391.htm)
Vulvodynia. U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. (Accessed on December 31, 2021 at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007699.htm)