We need to talk about what’s happening down under. Running is a whole-body sport, affecting every part of you—yes, even those parts. When it comes to being an active woman, vaginal health is often overlooked. We’ve asked Dr. Breanna Pond, a board-certified gynecologist and fellow runner, all about preventing down-there drama.
Q: My training buddies and I like to grab a cup of coffee after our long run on Sunday. Is it an issue if I don’t change out of my leggings right away?
“This is where you may run the risk of infection/irritation,” says Pond. “Sweating and then sitting in those clothes is a breeding ground for bacteria in the vagina.” If you’re going to lounge with lattes after your run, Pond suggests stashing a change of clothes in your car. You can also use a wipe formulated for cleaning the genitals, such as Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloths ($3.69, pack of 16, major retailers) as a temporary measure—but get to a shower as soon as possible.
When it comes to trying to decide whether or not to re-wear running shorts without washing them? You may think, I didn’t sweat that much the first time I wore them, and they smell fine!
Step away from the laundry hamper! Just because you can’t see or smell bacteria doesn’t mean they don’t exist—and trust us, they’re there. Re-wearing dirty leggings or shorts without cleaning can put a woman at high risk for yeast infections, dermatitis, acne and irritated skin.