If Instagram is anything to go by, there is nothing more glamorous than taking a dip in the pool and then lounging around in your bathing suit for the rest of the day. The water will cool you down, the sun will dry you off, and you can enjoy a novel and a cocktail (or two) as you relax.
Perfect, right? Well, not quite, as lounging around in your bathing suit could cause yeast infections and other problems, and they are neither glamorous nor Instagrammable.
What Happens if You Wear a Wet Bathing Suit for Too Long?
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t wear a wet bathing suit for long periods.
The main issue is that the wet and warm environment is perfect for bacteria growth. It creates a breeding ground in which harmful organisms can thrive.
Once you leave the water, all the bacteria that clung to your suit and your body inside the water will breed and grow outside of it.
These bacteria can harm the balance of healthy bacteria in the vagina and could also enter the urinary tract, causing vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
Getting a Vaginal Yeast Infection from a Wet Bathing Suit
Bacteria introduced via a wet bathing suit could cause rapid yeast growth, leading to a vaginal yeast infection.
Such issues are more prevalent in women with weakened immune systems, as well as those taking certain medications. The risk will also increase the more time that you spend in the wet swimsuit.
A yeast infection could produce symptoms such as foul discharge (often described as having a “cottage cheese” like consistency), itching, burning, soreness, and general discomfort.
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for more information about treating yeast infections. Most of the time, they will simply prescribe OTC anti-fungal remedies and then monitor the symptoms to make sure they clear up. You can buy these products yourself, but you should always consult your healthcare provider if there are any preexisting conditions, worrying/unusual symptoms, or if the problem persists even with over-the-counter medication.
How to Avoid Yeast Infections from Wet Swimsuits
If you’re worried about getting a yeast infection from wearing a wet bathing suit, try the following:
Change Out of Your Wet Swimsuit
As soon as you get out of the water, change into a dry bathing suit. It doesn’t matter if you plan on getting back into the water or not. Simply hang out your wet suit to dry, slip into a dry one, and by the time you’ve swum/surfed and are ready to change again, the first suit should be dry.
Alternatively, just shower and change early and then relax in loose-fitting beachwear instead of wet swimwear.
Choose a Moisture-Wicking Suit
Look for a moisture-wicking bathing suit, as it will pull the water away from your skin and allow it to dry on the surface of your suit. These bathing suits are a little more expensive, but if you regularly suffer from yeast infections, they are worth the extra expense.
Wear Loose Clothing
If you’re wearing a bathing suit underneath your clothing, look for loose and airy clothing to wear on top. That way, you’ll allow more air inside and won’t be as restricted. Just remember not to wear those loose clothes over your wet bathing suit when you climb out of the water.
Can a Wet Bathing Suit Cause a Rash?
Yeast infections aren’t the only issue caused by wearing wet bathing suits. You can also get something known as “jock itch”, which causes itchiness and discomfort around the genital area, as well as the thighs and buttocks.
Jock itch appears as a growth of red and itchy patches, often in the shape of rings. As with yeast infections, jock itch is caused by a type of fungus and it can be treated using similar medications.
Even if there is no fungal infection present, you could still suffer from rashes, itchiness, and discomfort from wearing a wet swimsuit or other wet clothing.
The wet clothing clings to the skin, softening it and leaving it exposed. If you apply pressure from sitting down or friction from moving around (with the suit constantly rubbing against your flesh) it could cause grazes, burns, and cuts.
Once you add harmful pool chemicals to the mix, you’re unnecessarily exposing your skin to a lot of harm.
Wet Bathing Suits for Men and Women
A vaginal yeast infection is not something that men need to worry about, but that doesn’t mean they are in the clear.
As noted above, wearing a wet bathing suit or wet shorts for prolonged periods can cause other problems, including jock itch and friction burns.
It’s generally not a good idea for either sex to wear wet clothes for long periods.
Why You Shouldn’t Sit in a Wetsuit
Sitting in wet clothes causes all of the problems mentioned above, and in the case of vaginal yeast infections, it could increase the risk. You’re not moving around, so you’re not giving the genital area a chance to dry off or air out. It’s a constant warmth and wetness, and so the yeast thrives.
Is it Okay to Wear Wet Booties for a Long Time?
Wearing wet booties, and wet shoes in general can be very detrimental to your feet. It’s okay to wear them when you’re actually swimming or surfing but wearing them when you don’t need to can cause skin irritation and bacteria growth.
The bacteria is unlikely to cause any serious problems, but your booties and feet will stink, and the longer you wear them, the harder it will be to get rid of that stench.
Think about how soft and irritated your feet become when you go for a run and sweat a lot. Now imagine how much worse they will be when they are literally soaking in liquid, sweat, and a combination of bacteria from the pool/sea, sand, dirt, and pool chemicals.