By Aoife Hanna published
Most women have probably become so accustomed to the little pocket that's sewn into the lining of their underpants that they've forgotten it's even there. But have you ever taken a second to ponder what the purpose of the pocket in your underwear is?
The little pocket-like flap, which is sewn onto the crotch of your undies is there for hygiene purposes! Yes, you heard that right and next time you revamp your top drawer with the best underwear for your shape—you'll notice it everywhere!
The 'pocket' is in fact called the 'gusset' and serves as a panel of breathable, moisture-wicking fabric designed to keep your nether regions dry and ventilated.
Often made from nice natural fibers like cotton, gussets are also highly absorbent and prevent friction, which can reduce the risk of infection. Synthetic fabrics, for example, the dreaded polyester, don't allow breathability which isn't good for your ph balance.
This, in turn, can be what causes thrush. Wearing tight clothing made from fabric that isn't breathable can cause an overgrowth of candida. This is because the bacteria thrive in moist, warm environments.
For some, wearing period underwear, sanitary pads and panty liners for long periods of time can contribute to this. As can sitting in a wet bathing suit or bikini bottoms for too long.
The use of the clever addition isn't solely for these purposes, according to one Twitter user who added, "It also helps the panties last longer, especially if women are wearing pads."
"Pads can stretch out the crotch area and the gusset stops this from happening. Obviously, this is not the main purpose of the gusset."
So next time you wonder why do I have a sore vagina? Or what causes vaginal discomfort? Maybe you should take a look in your lingerie drawer and double-check your underpants have a breathable gusset!
Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.
She's an Irish journalist and writer with over 1500 bylines and a background in creative writing, comedy and TV production.
Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the soon-to-be-published Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.
Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.
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