By Alyssa Brunt, MScPT, BScKIN (HON)
Who would we be without our vaginas? They provide us with pleasure and bring babies into the world, but let’s admit, sometimes the girl down below can be a bit of a bother. What most women don’t know is that our little flower can be quite picky about how she’s treated. And if the vagina ain’t happy, then nobody is!
Our vulva has its own environment, with healthy bacteria and microbes keeping things in balance. However, the clothes we wear and the products we use can disrupt this environment and leave us with some nasty side effects. If there’s one thing that can make you feel unsexy, it’s an unhappy vagina. Here are some tips for keeping your hoo-ha happy!
Your vagina is a self-cleaning oven. Sorry ladies, but say goodbye to soaps and scented lotions that can cause dryness and skin irritation. When it comes to cleaning, your lady bits have it covered! If you’re worried about how things smell down there, don’t be. We all have a unique scent that should only be a concern if it’s strong and bad smelling. The vagina should be cleaned with warm water which means no scrubbing, no steaming, no douching. Notta. And if you like your kitty cat well groomed, organic coconut oil can help prevent those unwanted ingrown hairs from shaving and waxing.
Go commando and let the girl breathe! There is nothing better than a breath of fresh air and your vulva agrees. Wearing organic cotton panties that aren’t too tight are the best for letting your vulva breathe throughout the day. When sleeping, wear just your undies or better yet, wear nothing at all! Be wild, be daring, be free.
Change your clothes after the gym. Sweaty and wet clothing creates damp environments which mean bacterial breeding grounds. This can increase your risk of UTIs, yeast infections, and skin breakdown. So go get sweaty ladies and put on new pair of undies afterwards. The same goes for you, my winter vacationers- change out of wet bathing suits once you’re done swimming.
When it comes to toileting, your vagina can be a picky princess. Be sure to wipe from front to back to avoid bringing any bacteria (i.e poop) into the vagina from the back door.
Your vagina needs a bit of TLC before, during and after sex. Condoms are great for maintaining the pH of the vagina and protecting against STDs. If you’re experiencing dryness or discomfort, lubricant can help! But stay away from products with glycerine that increase your risk of yeast infections. Be sure to pee after sex to remove any bacteria that may have made its way into the urethra while you were bumping uglies. We don’t want any UTIs!
Spicing things up in the bedroom? Not to worry! Just make sure to change condoms when switching from hole to hole so no bacteria is introduced into the vagina. Same rules apply for toys! Clean after each use and if switching from anus to vagina.
When Aunt Flow is in town, unscented organic cotton tampons and Diva Cups are the way to go. Most feminine hygiene products like tampons and panty liners can contain harsh bleaches and scents that are harmful to the vagina. Be sure to change your tampon every 4-8hours.
Itching, burning, pain, bleeding after sex, smelly discharge, yeast infections and UTIs are every woman’s nightmare. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then your vagina is not a happy camper. For more information, talk to your pelvic floor physiotherapist!
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