Self magazine just posted this piece entitled, “This is what your thong is doing to your butt.” In it the magazine warns about the dangers of chafing if your thong is too small! Yes, they needed to ask a doctor a question that Goldilocks could answer.
While the reporter does interview a respected OB/GYN, Dr, Millheiser at Stanford, her take on the lack of health risks to thongs are not at all reflected in the title of the piece. She correctly points out that chafing is typically seen when underwear is too small. She also notes there is no link between bladder infections and thongs. This has even been studied. Someone actually evaluated the impact of tight-fitting “string panties” and the microclimate, pH, and microflora of the genital skin. The conclusion – no difference from regular underwear and “No support was found for the assumption that a string panty system would result in higher contamination of vulvar skin by anorectal microflora.”
So what is the point of the article? That thongs are safe? That your underwear should fit? Totally not reflected in the title or the elegant subtitle, “The crack claps back.”
I would like to point out that if any clothing is ill-fitting it will chafe or irritate. If your bra is too tight it will be uncomfortable. If your jeans ride up your crotch it will be painful. If your hat is too tight you might get a headache. If you get blisters on your feet your shoes are a bad fit. And yes, if your thong is two sizes too small it may chafe. The answer is to wear correctly sized garments. Women of the world you do not need a doctor to tell you this.
Apparently drumming up issues related to “chafing” is this summer’s new hot topic because in the past three days I have fielded three or four media requests to discuss the health risks of chaffing related to leggings and underwear. Seriously. I’m getting sick of people creating health risks where non appear. Each time I answer these requests I can hear the reporter’s disappointment that there isn’t something terrible to write about. Obviously there is editorial pressure for women’s clothing catastrophes, otherwise the title and the tone of the Self piece would be different.
If normal sized underwear is painful that could be a sign of a medical condition, like vulvodynia a nerve-pain condition, or a skin condition, such as lichen sclerosus, but that’s not mentioned in the Self piece at all.
If your thong chafes your anal cleft (yes, your “crack” has a medical term and it is so much nicer) then likely you are wearing the wrong underwear for you. Maybe it’s size and maybe thongs just don’t work for you in the same way that some people can’t wear high heels. So by all means if you have some chafing consider Dr. Millheiser’s advice and use a barrier ointment (I prefer Desitin, A and D, or Zinc) to protect your skin while it heals and then buy something that is comfortable.
Reporters and editors stop trying to invent health problems for women. That is the opposite of empowering. Thongs don’t cause yeast infections, bacterial infections. or bladder infections. Done. You want to write about thongs? Great, when a respected doctor tells you there are no concerns then write the piece that way or better yet, don’t ask a doctor find a lingerie designer so we can all learn how to correctly pick a thong that fits.