This year, Complete Women Care is teaming up with Dare to Care for the Homeless, a local non-profit dedicated to helping the homeless men, women, and children in our community. We are proud to help an organization with such a noble and worthy cause. As we are an OBGYN office with four locations and the first and only GYN Emergent Care Center in California, we found it “fitting” to participate in their yearly bra and panties drive to “support” and “uplift” the homeless women in the Greater Long Beach Area.

Dare to Care for the Homeless is requesting new and/or gently used (and washed) bras and new panties. They will be collecting them in various drop off locations (like all our offices) throughout Long Beach and the surrounding cities. They will then be taken to Lydia’s House at the Long Beach Rescue mission where the women will be fitted for their new, better-fitting bras and panites.

But why underwear? Why are bras and panties important? Does it really matter to wear these things, anyway?

As it would turn out, there’s a very good reason why we should all wear clean, properly fitting undergarments.

Let’s start off with the panties (we are an OBGYN office, after all). Changing your underwear daily is a given – many people do this without a second thought. As it would turn out, that’s probably for the best. Some studies have recently shown that there is about a tenth of a gram of fecal matter in every pair of underwear, even if it is only worn for a day and washed regularly. Homeless women are more likely to have a greater amount of fecal matter in their underwear, as they have little access to a washing machine and new, clean underwear. The health risks are obvious – E. Coli and other bacteria love to breed in warm, damp places. The longer women go without clean underwear, the more these harmful bacteria begin to accrue. This can make the women very sick, yet they are unable to see a physician due to the limited resources they have.

The menstrual cycle is another important reason to wear clean panties. Yeast infections are more likely to occur when panties are not changed on a regular basis, as there is vaginal discharge that can build up and facilitate the warm, damp environment that bacteria loves. Typically, women who wash daily won’t increase their odds of infection, but homeless women may not have the ability to shower as often and therefore are more susceptible to that risk. The actual period poses serious risks as well – if the homeless woman were to use a tampon, her vaginal opening would be more exposed, allowing bacteria to enter more easily. If there is already a build-up of bacteria present due to wearing these constantly soiled panties, the likelihood of contracting these possibly serious conditions increases dramatically.

As for bras? The consequences of having an ill-fitting bra are less dire than wearing dirty panties, but they remain important to a woman’s well-being, nonetheless. Wearing the right bra can improve posture and prevent spine problems and back pain. The neck and shoulders can also fall victim to an improperly-fitting bra, so it’s best to be fitted for a bra before buying one haphazardly off the rack. Homeless women seldom have the option to purchase what they need and may be wearing the same bra for years at a time, even though it doesn’t fit anymore, was donated and not the right size, or simply forgoing the bra and not wearing one at all. Such a predicament can lead to back problems, spinal injuries, and neck and shoulder pain.

Complete Women Care and the GYN Emergent Care Center are happy to help Dare to Care for the Homeless by volunteering as drop-off locations for new or gently used (and washed) bras and new panties. Our five locations across the Greater Long Beach Area make donating convenient and accessible. It is our hope that all five boxes be filled to the brim with desperately needed undergarments for homeless women.

Join us in our cause by dropping off your donations at any of our five locations on your next visit (until 12/20/14):

Complete Women Care – Bixby Knolls
3711 Long Beach Blvd, Ste 700
Long Beach, CA 90807

Complete Women Care – Lakewood
3650 E South St, Ste 403
Lakewood, CA 90712

Complete Women Care – San Pedro
1360 West 6th St, Ste 165
San Pedro, CA 90731

Complete Women Care – Naples Island
5865 Naples Plz
Long Beach, CA 90803

GYN Emergent Care Center – A Branch Of Complete Women Care
3711 Long Beach Blvd, Ste 101 B
Long Beach, CA 90807

Call (562) 424-8422 to learn more or to set up an appointment today!

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