They may not be sexy, but when it comes to underwear, granny panties are the preferred choice for keeping your nether regions healthy. Wearing the wrong pair can cause serious infections or irritation. Here are four underwear mistakes you might be making, and how they affect your health.

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Chilling In Sweaty Chonies

"Yeast and bacteria love a warm, moist, dark environment," Octavia Cannon, DO, a board-certified OBGYN, explains to Seventeen magazine. The most common culprit? Lingering in your post-workout underwear. Going from the gym to the grocery store and your living room couch (all in your sweaty underpants) can promote bacteria growth. Shower and change after working up a sweat to reduce your chance of infections.

Choosing The Wrong Fabrics

When it comes to panties, stick to the classic cotton. "I recommend underwear — at least, the part in direct contact with the genital area — be made of cotton or silk, natural fabrics which allow exchange of air and moisture," suggests Elizabeth Eden, M.D., President of NY Gynecological Society. Synthetic fabrics can increase your odds of getting a yeast infection or irritation, reports Good Housekeeping.

Wearing Too-Tight Panties

Eden says that tight underwear can make pre-existing infections worse, so if you do have a yeast infection, your best bet is to switch to loose-fitting briefs. Of course, wearing loose underwear can also cause issues, so always buy a fitted, but not uncomfortable, pair.

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Living In Your Thongs

According to Seventeen, thongs can transfer E.Coli from your butt to vagina. "Think about where the string slides when you sit down in a thong," Cannon says in the magazine. If you must wear a thong, choose a well-fitting cotton pair and only if the outfit calls for it. Never sleep in one.

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