What The Pocket In Women's Underwear Is Really For

Women's underwear can come in a variety of colors, cuts, and fabrics. Maybe you've never given it a second thought, but the next time you get dressed for the day, take a look at the pocket flap located in the crotch of your undergarment. You may find yourself asking "What exactly is that for?" As it turns out, this tiny piece of fabric has its own name. Referred to as a gusset, it plays a specific role in our personal care and hygiene (via Health Overdosed) .

You may find that not every one of your pairs of underwear contains a gusset, but most pairs made from synthetic materials do. Synthetic clothing pieces can be made up of spandex, rayon, polyester or nylon, just to name a few (via Love Your Clothes). These can be popular choices when shopping for something flexible and less prone to wrinkles. However, synthetic fabrics are not known for their breathability. Because our genitals are easily subject to bacterial or yeast infections, this pocket is designed to help reduce the chances of such infections developing.

This absorbent pocket prevents bacterial and yeast infections

Taraneh Shirazian, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center, explains why our genitals are particularly prone to infection, "Tight underwear made from a synthetic fabric that doesn't let the southern area 'breathe' encourages yeast overgrowth by creating a warm, moist environment" (via Prevention).

With both the snugness of underpants and lack of breathability working against us, gussets are commonly made from cotton, and therefore provide an extra absorbent and aerated spot to keep us feeling fresh. For this reason, cotton panties are a great choice to prevent germs from becoming trapped in our underwear, which can then lead to discomfort and irritation. In fact, breathability is so important that Dr. Shirazian further suggests the occasional nighttime sleep in the nude ... or at least just minus the underwear under your pajamas. This way, the natural air circulation can help keep the vagina dry and healthy.