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Posted on: October 24, 2019 at 7:58 pm
Last updated: December 2, 2019 at 8:02 pm

When athleisure became the new denim, some of us rejoiced – happy to wear pinch-free pants anywhere we pleased. Others dramatically lamented something about folks being a little too comfortable in public places (those people can mind their business).

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But fashion sense aside, stretchy athleisure bottoms like yoga pants and leggings have also faced criticism for a number of health concerns, including yeast infections. So, how many of these accusations are actually something legging-wearers should be worried about? Let’s find out.

Do Leggings Cause Yeast Infections or Bacterial Vaginosis?

There’s no evidence of it. As San Francisco Bay Area OB/GYN Dr. Jen Gunter told The New York Post, “Wearing tight clothes cannot change your vaginal microenvironment … that’s just not physiologically possible. Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are due to your normal, healthy bacteria not keeping yeast or other bacteria under control.” (1)

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If you suffer from common yeast infections, talk to your doctor about finding the cause. Possible factors include: (2)

  • antibiotics
  • pregnancy
  • uncontrolled diabetes
  • weak immune system
  • poor eating habits, including a lot of sugary foods
  • hormonal imbalance near your menstrual cycle
  • stress
  • lack of sleep

Can Leggings Make Your Leg Muscles Weaker?

Nope, that’s a myth. Rumors have circulated that tight pants can make your muscles “lazy” because of their compression. But Dr. Gunter calls this theory ridiculous. “They’re not supporting your muscles … tights are in no way compressing your muscles and making a skeleton to hold you up,” she says. (1) In fact, compression wear has several positive medical uses, such as boosting circulation during long periods of sitting. (3)

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Can Yoga Pants Trigger Folliculitis Breakouts?

Unfortunately, there’s merit to this health concern. Folliculitis is inflammation of the hair follicle, which can appear like pimples at the base of hair follicles. People who experience folliculitis may find that wearing any tight-fitting clothing, including yoga pants and leggings, can make the condition worse. (4)

Can Leggings Cause Intertrigo?

Yep, there’s more bad news here. Dr. Lauren Ploch, a board-certified dermatologist at Skin Cancer Center and Georgia Dermatology told Today says wearing athletic clothing for too long after working out can trigger irritating skin conditions, including intertrigo. She recommends changing into a clean outfit as soon as possible after working out, or packing wet wipes if that isn’t possible. (4)

Can You Get Jock Itch From Wearing Leggings?

Brace yourself. Dr. Ploch notes that jock itch (formally, “tinea cruris”) is another skin condition that can be caused by overwearing tights after working out in them. It’s important to seek medical attention if you notice the rash typical of jock itch because a topical anti-fungal medication is necessary to treat the infection. These creams are usually available over the counter. (4)

Were there any rumors we missed? What else have you heard about wearing tight-fitting stretchy pants that made you think twice?

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Maria Sykes
Team Writer
Marie Sykes is an Ontario based writer with a background in research and a love for holistic wellness. She's especially interested in boosting awareness for women's health issues. Once a shunner of gyms, Marie has found an appreciation for weight training and HIIT circuits. She enjoys trying cuisine from all over the world, and she also enjoys not caring two cents what other people think her body should look like.

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