Q:

Are there any health benefits from not wearing underwear?

A:

Quick Answer

Not wearing underwear allows the external genitals to dry, thereby reducing bacteria growth, according to Health.com. Bacteria on the skin could potentially cause infection if allowed to migrate to the urethra and into the urinary tract.

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Those prone to urinary tract infections might consider not wearing undergarments or switching to cotton underwear once in a while in order to allow the genital area to dry, advices Sherry Thomas, MD, an OB-GYN and surgeon at St. John's Regional Medical Center. Bacteria that are allowed to accumulate on the genitals could cause a bladder infection if not properly controlled, Thomas reports to Health.com.

Under certain conditions, underwear can also keep the genital area dry, especially during exercise. When dancing or other physical exercise causes the genital area to sweat, underwear can help to wick moisture away from the skin, according to Everyday Health.

In a study published by the National Institutes of Health in which researchers measured scrotal temperatures and semen count of male subjects, it was reported that choice of underwear does not have a significant effect on male fertility.

Regardless of health benefits, the choice of outerwear is also a consideration in the decision on whether to wear underwear. Some outerwear materials, like linen, do not provide the same coverage of the genital region as thicker options, cautions Everyday Health.

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