Can You Get A Vaginal Infection From A Bathing Suit?

Hey Heather,

I go to the beach or the pool all the time, so I’m always in a bikini. A few weeks ago, I had a UTI and it sucked. My friend told me that sitting in a wet bathing suit can give you vaginal infections. Is that true? And if so, what am I supposed to do after I swim if I don’t want to take my bathing suit off?

bikini

By now, you probably realize that your vagina is super sensitive, and that many things more than just sex can irritate your down there area enough to cause an annoying infection. Whether it’s extra discharge, a funky smell, a yeast infection, or a frustrating UTI, it seems like so many things can cause infections down there. So, can hanging out in a bathing suit bother your vag? I asked my friend Dr. Sherry Ross for advice – she’s from the site HelloFlo (a monthly period package you need in your life ASAP), and she delivered the answers.

Dr. Ross said, “Wearing a bathing suit or exercise clothing for extended periods of time can trap unwanted chemicals, bacteria, and sweat. When you wear your bathing suit after being in a pool filled with chemicals, the vagina can definitely be affected. The pool chemicals on the skin of the vagina can affect the controlled balance in the vagina and on the lips. These chemicals disrupt the natural balance of a healthy vagina, allowing disruptive organisms such as yeast to grow out of control and cause an infection.”

So, yes, your friend was right: according to Dr. Rosss, “Vaginal skin irritation and yeast infections are more common if you sit around in a wet bathing suit.” This is true whether you’ve spent some time in a pool, an ocean, or a lake. Aside from pool chemicals causing an infection, a wet bathing suit bottom creates the perfect moist environment for bacteria to grow and flourish. As gross as that might sound, it’s the truth – and it’s something you should be aware of.

Does this mean you need to change out of your bathing suit the second you’re done swimming? No, because that’s not even practical. Dr. Ross says, “It’s best to rinse your bathing suit off with clean water after being in a swimming pool or the ocean.” Once you’re done swimming, head to the bathroom and rinse yourself down there. However, she does said that “it’s even better for the vagina to change into clean and dry clothing once you are done swimming.” Stay in your bathing suit if you’re going to swim again, but if you aren’t, change into something dry. Good luck out there!

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com You can also reach our buddies at HelloFlo with questions about your body or health. Just ask Dr. Flo at HelloFlo!

 

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