Does my vagina have bleaching powers?
It's a natural wonder
MP EDITION 071
Have you ever noticed some bleaching or tie-dye effect going on the inside of your underwear? The good news is: women everywhere are experiencing the same thing as well.
The bad news? Unfortunately, talking about feminine hygiene is still considered taboo by some and not everyone feels comfortable bringing it up. It’s because of this, there is typically a lack of awareness about what can cause this phenomenon of tie-dye bleaching of our underwear.
Late last year, TikToker uhlissuhrose (aka Alyssa) opened up about her bleached underwear in a now-viral video. The video helped open a much-needed dialogue on vaginal discharge as it sparked thousands of comments from people who were experiencing the same thing.
What causes bleached underwear?
In short, it’s discharge from your vagina. Now for the million-dollar question: why does discharge cause this tie-dye bleaching? Since the discharge is naturally acidic, it can leave white or yellow stains on your underwear’s crotch region (gusset) when it comes into contact with the dye in the fabric of your undergarments - especially when the fabric is a darker color like black or navy.
What is vaginal discharge?
Vaginal discharge is a VERY normal occurrence. Your vagina is an absolute powerhouse and is completely self-cleaning. Vaginal discharge is how your vagina expels the bacteria and dead cells - bye-bye, bacteria. Your vulva (skin on the outside of your vagina) on the other hand, is another matter and could use some gentle loving care daily. But more on that later.
A healthy pH level for your vagina is naturally acidic (specifically between 3.8-4.5), thanks to a good kind of bacteria called lactobacilli. The acidity of your vaginal discharge is what protects you from infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV).
What is “normal” vaginal discharge?
It’s perfectly normal and expected for the pH-levels to fluctuate due to all sorts of factors, including your sex life, hormones, as well as ovulation and menstrual cycles.
It’s absolutely fine to have discharge that ranges anywhere from clear to white to cream and has a slight smell. It’s one of the most common misconceptions that your discharge is supposed to be odorless or smell like roses or some other silliness that the marketing of days past (and by men) have convinced the public to believe. Listen up because this is important: it’s perfectly natural and healthy for your discharge to have a slight scent.
When is discharge not normal?
When your vagina’s pH starts to move outside of that optimal range, it can lead to vaginal infections like BV. Some indicators of potential infection are strong vaginal odors or a change in smell. If you notice a change like that, it’s worth giving your doctor a call. Also note that drastic color changes (yellow, brown, green) or texture (lumpy or really thick) could also be indicators of infection.
How to prevent ‘bleach’ stains in your underwear
There really isn’t a need to prevent bleaching on your underwear because it’s a sign that your vagina is operating normally and doing its thing. But here are tips on good daily feminine hygiene in general:
- Air it out: Keep air circulating by wearing cotton underwear rather than synthetic materials that trap sweat and moisture, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and infections
- Use a natural wash: Avoid products with artificial fragrances and synthetic ingredients as those can irritate your skin. And you only need to cleanse your vulva - remember your vagina is self-cleaning.
- Don’t douche: Using a douche can disrupt the pH balance in your vagina and cause tearing or infections.
- Line it: If you want to protect your underwear from stains or discoloration you might want to consider wearing a panty liner. Look for ones that are organic cotton options.
At the end of the day, having mild bleached underwear is no big deal and a sign that your vagina is doing its job. As always, if you notice any unusual symptoms or changes with your vagina, make sure to consult your doctor and get proper medical advice.