A ‘bleached’ or discoloured patch on your underwear could be embarrassing and worrying. But it’s actually perfectly normal…

Although most women find that their underwear can become discoloured after a few wears, many are still embarrassed by the patches and some wrongly think the patches are a sign that their vagina needs “cleansing” or “balancing”.

Bleached or discoloured patches on your underwear are actually most likely a sign of a healthy vagina.

What is bleaching your underwear? 

Your vagina is acidic and that is completely natural, normal and healthy. 

According to Medical News Today, the normal PH for a healthy vagina is around 4.5 which is acidic. 

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This is the vagina’s natural way of preventing bacterial infections and killing certain germs and pathogens that could breed in the vagina if the environment were more hospitable. 

READ MORE: Decode your period: What does spotting mean?

What if your underwear isn’t bleached 

Not all women have ‘bleach’ stains in their underwear, but this does not necessarily mean they have unhealthy vaginal PH levels. 

The material your underwear is made from, how you wash your underwear, and whether you wear a pantyliner can prevent those bleach stains. 

Although if you are experiencing more vaginal infections, discomfort and suspect this could be because of your vaginal PH, you should see a doctor about testing and correcting this. 

How to prevent bleaching

Although you don’t want to make your vagina less acidic to prevent ‘bleached stains’, there are steps you can take to prevent the bleaching without compromising the health of your vagina.

Wear a pantyliner

Wearing a pantyliner every day can be expensive, but creating a physical barrier between your discharge and the material of your underwear.

Avoid scented pantyliners, they have chemicals that interfere with your vaginal health. 

Wash your undies when you take them off

Washing your underwear immediately when you take it off means the discharge will sit in your undies for a shorter amount of time and might not bleach your underwear as severely. 

Experiment with fabrics

Cotton underwear is more comfortable, breathable and less likely to cause irritation and contribute to discomfort and things like yeast infections. 

Because cotton is more absorbent, it is more likely to become discoloured. Experiment with less absorbent materials for your “special undies” to avoid ruining your expensive occasional pairs. 


Sources

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.