If someone told you that your favorite pair of stretchy black pants could be causing your recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs), you might think they’ve gone crazy. But it turns out there is some truth there. Bacteria, which is what causes UTIs, thrives in moist, warm environments. And that’s exactly what’s created if you hang out in your tight workout clothes for hours after taking a sweaty Bikram class.
To make matters worse, yoga pants tend to be made from synthetic materials. And unlike natural fabrics, like cotton, synthetic ones encourage more bacteria growth. They’re also worn tightly against your skin, which can prevent air from circulating (something that keeps the area damp and warm). If your yoga pants are really tight, they can even push your underwear up where it doesn’t need to go, increasing the risk of bacteria moving into your urethra.
While yoga pants get a lot of the blame here, they aren’t the only culprit—one woman’s doctor believed her skinny jeans were the reason she got a UTI.
So how do you make sure your favorite athleisure attire isn’t contributing to regular UTIs? Step one is to make sure you’re keeping your body clean and dry most of the time. When exercising, wear cotton underwear. Then afterwards, change out of your gym clothes as soon as you wrap up the workout and wash your clothes as soon as possible.
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