Last week, everyone was talking about a 35-year-old woman who was hospitalized after skinny jeans left her temporarily paralyzed. Now, skinny jeans have struck again: Lesley Kime, a 31-year-old from England, recently suffered a five-week UTI (!) triggered by her skinny jeans, reports Daily Mail.
When Kime started to feel bladder pressure, a symptom the mother of three had experienced during each of her pregnancies, she thought she might be pregnant. But the pressure continued to get worse. Eventually, Kime went to the doctor, who diagnosed her with cystitis, a common urinary tract infection (UTI) that inflames the bladder in response to chronic pressure, or when yeast or fecal bacteria travel up the urethra and end up in the organ. Bleh.
When antibiotics didn't alleviate Kime's excruciating pain and her cystitis symptoms—which can include painful peeing, blood in the urine, and the constant urge to go—continued to worsen, she went back to the doctor's office twice and was eventually transferred to a hospital for further testing before the pain subsided five weeks later. Along the way, a nurse suggested that Kime's skinny jeans could be the culprit.
You've probably worn skinny jeans a bazillion times without getting a UTI, but still, it makes sense that the style staple could mess with your health. Skinny jeans make it difficult for air to circulate around the crotch, a warm, moist area where yeast and bacteria already like to set up shop, explains Rebecca Amaru, M.D., assistant clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Another thing: Super-tight jeans can push the fabric of your underwear all up into your crack, which transfers fecal bacteria from your butt toward your urethra and vagina. The rubbing itself could cause inflammation and break the skin, which makes it even easier to for bacteria to get into your system and trigger a full-fledged UTI, Dr. Amaru explains. As if that's not risky enough, tight skinny jeans can put pressure on your bladder, which can cause inflammation on its own without any of that bacteria.
Needless to say, Kime is swearing off skinny jeans for the time being—she trashed all six of her pairs. But that doesn't mean you have to forgo your favorites. Just proceed with these precautions from Dr. Amaru:
- Wipe well. Half-assing it (sorry) after a bowel movement could expose your urethra to harmful fecal bacteria. You'll also want to wipe from front to back to keep TP that's touched your anus away from other holes.
- Never move a finger, toy, or penis from the anus to the vagina without washing it first. Soap! Water! Otherwise, you'll risk transferring bacteria.
- Alternate between wearing skinny jeans and looser-fitting bottoms. While wide-leg pants won't render you immune to UTIs, they're less aggravating than skinny jeans and give your immune system a chance to clear out any bacteria that gets into your urinary tract during skinny jean days.
- Pee after sex. And rehydrate to pee even more—that way, you can really flush out your urinary tract.
- Don't try to cure your UTI on your own. While OTC numbing medications can treat the symptoms and make you more comfortable, you can only cure a bacterial UTI with antibiotics. So see a doctor ASAP to nip it in the bud.