No Underwear No Problems?

Am I prone to infections or a UTI if I don’t wear underwear during my runs?

Katie Grossman

Wrightwood, California
Two things I’ve never done: 1) wore underwear while running; and 2) suffered from a UTI. So I’m going to say no here. I like to be as close to naked as possible while running, and find that any extra layers or seams just create extra points of chaffing, particularly under my arms and down in my special region. Good shorts have good liners, and I find that suffices, as long as the shorts are the correct size. The one exception is with tights – the crotch always sags on me, and things feel strange down there, so I wear tight, little butt hugger shorts. I’d also note that I sometimes wear shorts or tights more than once before washing, and also keep my bits waxed and bald as an eagle (aka no extra barrier between shorts and parts) – and still have never had a problem of any kind.

Deserae Clarke

Danville, Pennsylvania
I’ve heard people state that running without underwear is gross, which I never fully understood, since you wash your tights or shorts after runs just like you would underwear. I personally never wear underwear when running, and even in ultras where you’re in your clothes for much longer I’ve never had an issue with UTIs or other problems. Whether you’re wearing underwear or not you want to change out of sweaty running clothes as soon as possible to prevent issues. If you’re not able to get showered right afterwards, or again if you’re in a long event, it helps to use wipes to keep everything as clean as possible. Also, you want to make sure whatever you’re wearing fits properly and doesn’t rub or chafe sensitive areas. I find, personally, that it’s easier to do this without underwear as it’s one less layer to twist around and get out of place.

Clare Gallagher

Boulder, Colorado
Absolutely not. UTIs are so personal! I usually run in just spandex shorts, running shorts or tights without underwear. I think wearing wet clothing around your crotch for hours could cause a yeast infection more easily than a UTI. Peeing after sex is way more important than wearing or not wearing undies on a run in terms of UTI infection!

Heidi Kumm

Summit County, Colorado
While I do work in the medical field, I am going to reach out to personal experience for my answer here. No, probably not. There are a lot of things that can lead to UTI’s + if you have a history of repeat or chronic UTI’s you may need to take some extra precaution. However, if you do not have a history with UTI’s you should be fine wearing running shorts, skirt or leggings sans underwear. Quite frankly, I do it all the time, rarely adding underwear to my daily attire as I’m almost always in leggings or running shorts during the summer months. It really comes down to staying clean + peeing on a regular basis. Even something as simple as changing into clean running clothes post-run will help prevent any bacteria form getting into places it is not welcome.

Lisa Perky

Bryan, Texas

In a word: no. Some women are more prone to these issues than others. If you have history of UTI, it’s important to shower and change immediately after a run, stay hydrated, and never run on a full bladder. During the non-running portion of your day, opt for loose-fitting cotton. Hydration, hydration, hydration.

Morgan Sjogren

Free Range, USA
No way. It’s probably better. Well I never wear underwear and I’ve still gotten UTIs so maybe don’t ask me lol.

Amanda Roe

Moundsville, West Virginia
UTI’s are more often a result of bladder irritation from imbalanced hydration. Becoming dehydrated will cause the urine to concentrate and thus irritate the lining of the bladder and the urethra. Make sure your electrolyte drink on long runs is mixed properly to avoid this. Chafing could inadvertently lead to vaginitis. So, undies or not, make sure to properly lube up your perineum (the skin between the vagina and anus) and labia if you’re prone to the dreaded rub. There are a handful of excellent salves and ointments out there to keep you chafe-free. Know them, use them, love them.
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Trail Sisters contributors are a group of inspirational, educational and empowering Women who share a love for the outdoors and trail running. We come from all over and share a bond through our love of the sport.

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Comments

2 thoughts on “No Underwear No Problems?”

  1. I think the real question is how do women who do not wear underwear under their tights not get camel toe??? So uncomfortable:)

    • I actually use panty liners to combat the dreaded camel toe! They smooth everything out and allow me to wear spandex without underwear (which is so much more comfortable for me!). I would highly recommend 🙂

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