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OK, TMI: Will wearing sweaty leggings all day give me a yeast infection?

Well+Good logo Well+Good 7/16/2019 Allie Flinn
a person posing for the camera: leggings yeast infection © Photo: Getty Images/Well+Good Creative leggings yeast infection

There are two types of people on this planet: those who immediately change out of their clothes post-workout, and those who hit up a fitness class, then run errands and grab brunch without ever taking the time to get out of their sweaty leggings. If you fall into the latter camp, like I do, you've probably wondered at some point if you're tempting vaginal flora fate by staying in your sweaty leggings basically all day.

I spoke to Jacqueline Ho, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at USC Keck School of Medicine, about how to make sure your leggings don't give you a yeast infection. "There is no magic number as to how long your leggings can be on for," she says. "If you are not that sweaty and aren't prone to yeast infections, then you probably could keep them on all day." But if you are prone to yeast infections, you should change into dry clothing sooner than later. That's because "things like tight clothing, non-breathable fabric, and moisture can predispose you to having a yeast infection," she says. And worth keeping in mind: you're also more at risk of developing a yeast infection if you have diabetes, were recently on antibiotics, are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system.

The leggings that you choose are also important. Ho recommends choosing breathable leggings made of cotton or a material that wicks moisture because, as mentioned, moisture can contribute to developing yeast infections. If you do choose to wear underwear with your leggings, make sure you choose a breathable fabric like cotton. "Avoid scented soaps or feminine hygiene products, and when you bathe keep it simple with water and mild soap," she adds. "If you are on your period, make sure you change your tampon, pad, menstrual cup regularly to keep the vulvar area as dry as possible." And absolutely no douching, because this can eff up your vaginal flora.

If you do develop a yeast infection, Ho recommends calling your gyno or primary care doctor. "If you have many yeast infections in a row, I recommend seeing a gynecologist to make sure it is not another issue, or another type of yeast that may need different treatment," she adds.

... And now I think I officially have reached my yearly quota of typing "yeast."

Try this trick next time you're shopping for leggings to make sure that you get the perfect fit. And this is how you can tell if your leggings will show crotch sweat... before you wear them to Pilates. 

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