Can Workout Clothes Cause a Yeast Infection?

It’s a question we’ve all been wondering but were too afraid to ask – can workout clothes cause a yeast infection? Let’s find out together.


Though it is not always the case, workout clothes are a potential source of yeast infections for some individuals. It is important to consider the possible sources and risk factors for yeast infections when engaging in any activity that may increase your risk of this type of infection. Though more commonly associated with women, men can also experience yeast infections, particularly if they wear tight-fitting clothes or exercise vigorously. In order to mitigate the risk of yeast infection from workout clothes, it is important to understand what causes them and how they can be prevented. This article will cover the basics of yeast infections and discuss how wearing workout clothing may impact an individual’s risk.

What Is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection is a common fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans. Yeast infections typically occur on moist, warm areas of the body such as the vagina and groin, but may also affect other regions such as the mouth known as “thrush” or in the folds of skin. Most commonly, yeast infections cause itchy red rashes on the skin, along with a burning or stinging sensation when urinating. The most common symptoms are a white vaginal discharge that may be creamy in texture, as well as intense itching and swelling around the affected area.

Yeast infections are generally quite treatable with over-the-counter remedies or antifungal medications prescribed by your doctor. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as choosing breathable fabrics for clothing and avoiding tight-fitting items may help reduce symptoms associated with yeast infections.

What Causes Yeast Infections?

Yeast infections occur when the balance of bacteria and fungi in the body are disrupted, allowing for Candida (yeast) to overgrow and cause infection. A number of factors can increase an individual’s risk of developing a yeast infection including improper hygiene, hormonal imbalances, stress, illness and certain medications. Additionally, wearing clothing that limits air flow or encourages moisture build-up can create an environment where yeast thrives.

Specifically with regard to workout clothes, moisture and heat can provide a valuable environment for Candida to overgrow leading to infection. This is especially likely when you wear the same outfit repeatedly without washing or if sweat from workout clothing is not allowed to evaporate during exercise. As a result, it’s important to allow your skin to breathe in order keep your bacterial balance in check. Exercise clothing should also be kept clean by washing frequently either by hand or through machine-washing with appropriate detergent. If you prefer natural alternatives for cleaning clothes try applying baking soda and vinegar directly onto wet garments before washing them off in running water.

How Can Wearing Workout Clothes Increase Risk of Yeast Infections?

Wearing workout clothes that are too tight or do not provide enough ventilation can increase the risk of developing a yeast infection. This is because such clothing can trap sweat and moisture, creating a warm and humid environment in which yeast can thrive. Additionally, the friction caused by too-tight clothing can further irritate the skin and increase the risk of a yeast infection. Therefore, understanding the implications of wearing workout clothes is an important factor in preventing yeast infections.

Tight-Fitting Clothing

Tight-fitting workout clothing made of synthetic materials is a major contributing factor to yeast infections in women. Tight fabrics trap heat and moisture around the genital area, creating an environment where Candida albicans, the most common cause of vaginal yeast infections, can thrive. When sweat and bacteria linger too long on the skin or are unable to escape due to tight fabric trapping them, they can provide ideal conditions for irritation and infection.

Additionally, rubbing caused by exercising can irritate the delicate skin in the genital area and make it vulnerable to infection. The combination of contact with moisture and flat surfaces of synthetic fibers creates friction that further increases irritation risk, while providing a ready source of fuel for any yeast or bacteria that have entered through a broken cut or scrape.

Ultimately, tight exercise clothing should be avoided whenever possible if you’re prone to getting yeast infections. Opting for clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton is much safer as these fabrics will wick away moisture from your skin faster than synthetic materials. Wearing loose-fitting clothes that allow for good ventilation will also help reduce your risk of developing a potentially uncomfortable yeast infection due to exercise-related activities.

Moisture Retention

Moisture retention is a major factor that increases the risk of developing a yeast infection when wearing workout clothes. Yeast is a type of fungus that thrives in warm, moist environments, making the perfect breeding ground out of synthetic materials like polyester, spandex and nylon which are often used to make workout attire. As you sweat while exercising, these fabrics tend to trap moisture on your skin rather than allow it to evaporate and create an environment where fungi can grow. To avoid this risk, wear loose-fitting gym clothes made of natural fibers such as cotton. Natural fibers allow your skin to breathe more easily and will help keep your skin dry during physical activity.

Synthetic Fabrics

Wearing the wrong kind of clothing when working out can increase your risk of developing a yeast infection. Specifically, synthetic fabrics such as nylon, spandex and polyester trap moisture more readily than natural fibers such as cotton and linen, unintentionally providing an ideal environment for yeast to thrive. This can occur if you’re wearing clothes while working out that are too tight, making it difficult for moisture to evaporate naturally from the skin. It can also happen when you overdo it with certain types of sports bras which don’t allow the area to breathe—this is especially common among runners and other individuals who engage in high-impact activities.

Although some manufacturers are starting to design clothing specifically for workout sessions with natural fibers such as bamboo and hemp, many individuals continue to wear synthetic fabrics due to their lightweight nature and ease of movement. If this is the case for you or someone you know, it is important to regularly change out of your workout clothes after use in order to allow fresh air contact with the skin—especially in areas where dampness tends to build up or can become trapped by snug fits. If possible, choose fabrics that are breathable and loose-fitting, as loose-fitting attire allows air permeability that helps keep moisture away from the body’s surface. Finally, always remember not to wear wet workout clothes any longer than necessary as excess moisture increases risk of occurrence.

How to Prevent Yeast Infections from Workout Clothes

Workout clothes are made of synthetic fabrics that don’t allow your skin to breathe as much as natural fabrics like cotton. This can create an environment where candida yeast is more likely to grow, leading to yeast infections. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this from happening. In this section, we’ll talk about how you can prevent yeast infections from your workout clothes.

Wear Breathable Fabrics

When selecting workout attire, it is important to pick fabrics that will allow your skin to breathe. Tight-fitting clothing made of non-breathable materials, such as nylon and polyester, can create a warm and moist environment that is ideal for yeast growth. In particular, lycra and spandex are popular materials for activewear but can be extremely conducive to yeast infections when worn in tight-fitting garments like leggings or compression shorts. Loose fitting apparel made from natural fibers like cotton or bamboo are better choices if you want to avoid the risk of a yeast infection.

Change Out of Workout Clothes Immediately

One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against a yeast infection caused by workout clothes is to change out of them as soon as possible after working out. Moisture is one of the key elements that lead to a yeast infection, and when you work out, particularly when you sweat profusely, your clothing can become a breeding ground for fungi and other pathogens. As soon as you’re done working out, it’s important to change into either clean clothing or at least loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics which can reduce the risk of getting a yeast infection.

In addition, if you wear workout clothes for more than two hours without changing them, the sweat and bacteria trapped in them can increase the risk for developing an infection. Therefore, it’s best to take frequent breaks when exercising in order to allow your body time to cool down and release any trapped moisture from your outfit. Furthermore, try wearing fabrics made from natural fibers such as cotton that allow your skin breathe while still wicking away moisture even if they do become damp during extended periods of exercise or activity.

Avoid Wearing Wet Clothes for Long Periods of Time

Though wearing workout clothes to the gym is a great way to stay comfortable and support physical activity, it is important to remember that any kind of clothing can potentially cause a yeast infection if not appropriately cared for. One of the best ways to prevent a workout-related yeast infection is to avoid wearing wet clothes for extended periods of time. This means changing out of your sweaty gym clothes as soon as possible after your workout and taking a shower or bath with warm water and mild soap before putting on clean, dry clothing. Additionally, try to get in the habit of always wearing breathable fabrics such as cotton as opposed to synthetics like polyester during exercise; this will allow excess moisture from sweat or hot temperatures in the gym be wicked away from your body faster. Finally, take off your sweaty or damp clothing before going about other activities (such as running errands) and opt for something else clean and dry.


In conclusion, wearing tight fitting, breathable workout clothes can lead to an increase in moisture and bacteria harboring on the skin. Studies have demonstrated that underwear and tight fitting shorts can be a contributing factor for yeast infection in women. We recommend always wearing breathable clothing when exercising, showering soon after exercising and changing out of sweaty clothes. If a person experiences signs of a yeast infection, it is best to consult with their doctor as treatment is necessary to cure the infection.

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