Health And Wellness

4 Disgusting Diseases You Might Get If You Wear Yoga Pants

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woman in yoga pants looking at mountains

You've just finished up an intense session at the gym or biked that 25 miles, and instead of taking a shower and changing into some clean clothes, you decide to just stay in your workout clothes.

They may look good on you and are comfortable, and it's not like there aren't people doing errands or picking up the kids in their athleisure wear.

But the problem is that constantly wearing workout clothes such as yoga pants, leggings, and other athletic apparel can lead to some icky and unpleasant side effects.

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Because workout wear is often much tighter than other types of clothing, it has a tendency to hold warmth and moisture in. The body then becomes the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and flourish — a living Petri dish for microbes and organisms.

Disgusted yet? Just hold on. If you wear your favorite yoga pants all day/every day, here are some health issues that can develop.

4 Disgusting Diseases You Might Get If You Wear Yoga Pants

1. Bacterial infections of the hair follicles

These infections can go from bad to worse pretty quickly and can be caused by the follicles rubbing against clothing or shaving.

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The first is Folliculitis, a superficial infection of a single hair follicle that looks like a bunch of small red bumps or whitehead pimples, which can spread and turn into non-healing crusty sores.

Next, there are Furuncles/Boils, deeper infections of the hair follicle that looks like a red, raised bump on your skin but can rupture and weep fluid (gross). If you have a number of boils, you get a Carbuncle, which is deeper and more severe than the rest.

In an interview, dermatologist Lauren Ploch said, “The three major skin issues I’ve seen from wearing your pants for too long is intertrigo, folliculitis, or tinea cruris.”

2. Fungal infections

Fungal groin infections, like tinea cruis or jock itch, can start in one area, such as Athlete's foot, and spread to other areas like the groin, making it itchy and irritable. 

Ploch says, “Tinea cruis is jock itch — a fungal infection. This looks a little bit scalier than intertrigo, but these symptoms and conditions can overlap.” To treat it, you can use an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream.

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3. Vaginitis and vaginal infections

You know when you've got one because of the pain, itch, and funky smell. What's extra special is you can have more than one at any given time. Make sure it's breathable down there and you might be able to avoid them.

4. Intertrigo

This is a very common inflammatory condition that affects areas of the skin that are in contact with each other, such as the groin, armpits, under the breasts, and any skin folds. It's caused by frictional rubbing, increased temperature, and moisture and is complicated by various microorganisms.

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Ploch says, “We see intertrigo in a lot of cyclists.”

You can avoid these thoroughly unpleasant infections by wearing moisture-wicking material designed to draw the moisture away from the body, while working out, showering, and changing into clean, loose-fitting clothing after you've done your 5k or hiked that hill.

Also, always remember to breathe... everywhere.

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman's Day. Visit her website or her Instagram.