A medical laboratory scientist, Obinna Chukwudi, has warned women against wearing underwear for more than 24 hours if they want to maintain good feminine hygiene.
The microbiologist who works at the Department of Microbiology at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State said that the drippings and accumulation of moisture from underwear is a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast infections contaminated with feces and urine.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, Chukwudi said the accumulated discharge and wetness can lead to a lingering foul odor and a change in the pH level of the vagina.
According to him, “Underwear should not be worn for more than 24 hours. If a woman wears pants for more than 24 hours, what happens is that the bacteria must have built up over time from sweat and other secretions coming out, which you don’t see usually not, and that’s why over time you start to see underwear change color – sometimes white and sometimes gray.
“The secretions stay there over time and if you don’t wash them after the 24 hours, the woman could develop infections. Again, there could be a change in the vaginal pH, due to the secretions produced which could lead to vaginosis.
Experts say a normal vaginal pH is between 3.8 and 4.5, which is moderately acidic.
According to them, an acidic vaginal environment creates a barrier that prevents unhealthy bacteria and yeast from multiplying and causing infection; but a high vaginal pH—above 4.5—provides an environment for unhealthy bacteria to grow.
Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally present in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance. Although many women with this condition have no signs or symptoms, experts say some signs and symptoms include fine, gray, white or green vaginal discharge, a foul “fishy” vaginal odor, vaginal itching and burning during urination. However, many women with bacterial vaginosis have no signs or symptoms.
According to an online health portal, Mayo Clinic – a medical center focused on integrated health care, education and research – bacterial vaginosis results from an overgrowth of one of the many bacteria naturally present in the vagina.
“Usually the ‘good’ bacteria (lactobacilli) outnumber the ‘bad’ bacteria (anaerobes). But, if there are too many anaerobic bacteria, they disrupt the natural balance of microorganisms in the vagina and cause bacterial vaginosis,” noted the Mayo Clinic.
Continuing, Chukwudi said, “Vaginosis can cause discomfort and they may experience odor coming from the private part.
“For men, you could forgive them because the penis is not in direct contact most of the time and the opening is not wide enough to have enough bacteria. But ideally the underwear should not be worn more than 24 hours.
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