Vaginal health is SERIOUS.
You might think you know everything about keeping your lady parts in great shape, but you probably don’t.
Whether it’s ditching an annual exam or douching, there are many misconceptions about what you have to do to maintain a healthy vagina.
Allow me to enlighten you:
1. WEAR COTTON UNDERWEAR OR GO COMMANDO
Your vagina has a preference when it comes to underwear selection, it’s called cotton! Cotton breathes and absorbs moisture which is an ideal way to clothe your lady parts. If you are laying around the house, go commando so you can let your nether-region air out, however, do not go to the gym without underwear. You’ll actually want that extra layer between you and the gym equipment that is full of germs.
2. PUT SOME WORK INTO IT
Do Kegels (contracting of pelvic floor muscles). It’s so crucial for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, which help with bladder control and – most importantly – stronger orgasms. This is especially helpful for women who are pregnant or have given birth as it helps to prevent urinary incontinence. Try to include Kegels in every workout. They are super easy to do, even when sitting or lounging around. Here are some exercises that might be helpful!
3. ALWAYS GO TO YOUR ANNUAL EXAM
I cannot bold this statement enough. Annual exams are very important in preventing and learning about health problems. It’s the best time to chat with your doctor about condoms, fertility, and any questions you might have about your vagina, cervix, uterus, breasts, etc. So before you decide to cancel or reschedule your doctors visit, have a chat about it with her (or him) before you do. It is recommended that women have their first screening at the age of 21. At that same age it is recommended that women undergo a Pap smear. Why? The screen is suggested because our bodies begin and continue to change, specifically cells in the cervix, which can be indicators for types of cancers in that area of your body. It’s important to catch these abnormalities early, so that your doctor can monitor them and ensure that they are benign.
4. PLEASE SAY NO TO DOUCHING
Think you need help keeping things all clean down there? Well, you don’t. Weird/cool/freaky thing, the vagina actually cleans itself! There are numerous studies that show using intravaginal hygiene products can put you at an increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, STDs and risk of other infections. Just like drugs, say no to douching! And put the Summer’s Eve down.
5. BE CAREFUL WITH THE SOAP YOU USE
The smell of the scented body wash may be awesome, but it doesn’t belong anywhere near your vagina. Soap can cause the skin to be dry, especially for sensitive skin around your vulva, and to be honest all you have to do is rinse with warm water to keep everything clean down there. If soap is a must, stick to something gentle and plain like unscented soap. My favorite is Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile-Soap.
6. GREEK YOGURT
Embrace it, learn to love it. Snack on yogurt, because the live cultures help boost the good bacteria in your vagina, which is great for preventing any vaginal health concerns or issues such as yeast infections or bad bacterial growth. Keep in mind, not to be snacking on the super sweet and sugary yogurts. This could actually make you more susceptible to infections. Processed sugars are a huge culprit for yeast overgrowth. Some favorites of mine are Stonyfield Organic Greek Plain Yogurt and Green Mountain Creamery 0% Greek Yogurt Plain.
And there you have it! My top suggestions to keeping your vagina healthy and happy.
Ladies embrace the changes, but be aware if something doesn’t feel or smell right. If you’re experiencing pain, itchiness, burning, weird sensations or scents, get it checked out with a GYN immediately. You get a physical every year (or at least you should be), you get your teeth cleaned, you get your eyes checked – you should be taking care of “down there,” too. You’re vaginal health is just as, if not more important than the health of your overall body.