Underwear Sensitivity

by Courteney
(Orange County, CA)

My 5 year old daughter has been very sensitive "down there" since she was an infant. She discovered the sensitivity around the age of 12 months, and it has been very upsetting for her to wear certain things, like underwear, and especially underwear WITH pants or tights WITH a leotard. She goes into a complete meltdown, clearly in agonizing discomfort from when the leotard touches the tights in the crotch, and she just can't get it to be comfortable.




She would never sit down with any clothes on, and it got worse as time went on, rather than better. She is consciously trying to sit in her carseat, for example, without taking her lower clothing off, or sit at the table without sitting on her foot... so she has to sit on her foot or wear nothing down there, just so she can be comfortable. When I wash her, I have to be especially careful not to do more than a single quick, gentle brush with a wash cloth down there, as it "really tickles" and I don't really feel comfortable about it. I am not a prude, but I just feel very protective of her, and it bothers me how sensitive she is. I try not to focus on it or make a big deal, but we do talk about it sometimes, since I am very open with her and feel it is nothing to be ashamed of.

I worry that there is something I need to do to help her get through this, since I have thought since she was 1 or 2 that if I just don't make it a focus, she might outgrow it. She wears leggings a lot or nylon "shots" underwear with a dress or skirt, but cotton panties bother her, and more than one layer sends her through the roof.

Please let me know if you have ever heard of this and what I might be able to do to help her be more comfortable while also being properly clothed. We have come a long way, but today she lost it trying to wear her leotard on top of her tights for her dance class. She also said that it is getting worse now, not better. She says there was a time when it was less, but now it seems to be more bothersome.

Thank you!



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Mar 24, 2018
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It Gets Better
by: Anonymous

Hi, I'm a twenty year old with very similar sensitivities--I had a hard time wearing underwear when I was younger, I hated socks with seams, and I couldn't stand any shirts that were close to my armpits or in the crease of my elbow. I remember throwing huge fits because my parents would try to make me get dressed in the morning, but I couldn't stand wearing clothes. They were always patient with me, which I think was one of the most important things they could do. Now that I'm older, I understand how frustrating it must have been for them--always late for work or school because I couldn't get dressed.

My parents found that massage was helpful in relaxing me. Although it didn't get rid of my sensitivity issues, I believe that it is very important to relax the body in order to get dressed. With that in mind, I would recommend massage at bedtime if she finds it relaxing.

Fortunately, many of my sensitivity issues have gone away with age. I now have no issue with socks or shirts. Like your daughter, I still have a hard time with multiple layers of cloth in my groin area. I would suggest getting her leggings or soft pants and having her wear them without underwear--this is the only way I can ever wear pants. I have found that my sensitivity to underwear in particular has gotten better and worse. The only advice that I can offer here is to search around for different brands of underwear. I personally can only wear underwear that doesn't have a tight band around the thigh. Like your daughter, I also mainly wear skirts.

Most of all, I want to stress how important it is to listen to your daughter--which it seems you are already doing a good job of. For people without these sensitivities, I know it is hard to understand, but they are very real and they can make it hard to get ready like other kids do. Just know that it gets better with time, and that your daughter will be a more understanding adult because of her own difficulties.

Aug 19, 2017
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Underwear sensitivity--we're seeing improvement!
by: Anonymous

At age 5 years my daughter began showing sensitivity to underwear and any clothing binding her fanny (bathing suits, pants, shorts, tights). One concern she was able to voice was the elastic hems on typical "girl" underwear. My son's underwear has fabric covering the elastic in the hems, so when we could not find girl underwear with covered hems that fit her comfortably--we let her wear "boy" underwear.

Two weeks ago, reading your story and similar ones, I wondered what sort of physical therapy would help; seeing no answer online, I watched videos for other sensitivities and thought, "Massage and exercise seem to help with other sensitivities." So, my daughter has agreed I should give her a massage after her shower on the problem areas, then put on the underwear and massage again, then put on the shorts/pants and massage again. She still makes faces about the clothing going on, but she flops down on the bed and points at her fanny, asking me to massage if I "forget." The tantrums have decreased amazingly.

I hope this helps you and others.

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