A healthy vagina is critical to your overall wellness, plus it will give you the confidence to enjoy your sex life to its fullest. Here are 9 things you can do to keep your vagina in its best possible health.
Checklist for a healthy vagina
1. Use condoms
We know condoms protect against nasty STIs, but if you needed any more reason to use them (i.e. if you and your partner are monogamous and STI-free), studies have found that they may also help to maintain your vagina’s healthy pH and good bacteria levels. So wrap up and reduce your risk of yeast and urinary tract infections, as well as bacterial vaginosis.
2. Pick the right panties
You know that little strip of fabric that lines most underwear? That’s pure cotton, which is what your vagina prefers, because it doesn’t trap moisture and allows your lady parts to breathe. Try to wear only cotton undies, or why not go commando when you’re at home? There’s nothing wrong with a bit of fresh air down there!
3. Go Greek
Snack on yoghurt with live AB cultures, and you’ll be helping to boost the levels of good bacteria in your vagina while enjoying something delicious. Tip: avoid overly sugary types, as sugar can actually promote yeast infections and bacteria growth.
4. Don’t miss your annual women’s wellness check up
Regular pap smears are always recommended, but there are even more reasons than this to visit your clinic or gynae every year. It’s the ideal time to ask any sexual healthcare questions you may have or to chat about birth control. A women’s wellness check-up helps ensure you’re in the best possible health, and nips any potential issues in the bud before they become serious.
5. Trust Mother Nature
Douches and other products designed to ‘clean’ your vagina or ‘keep it fresh’ can actually cause more problems than they solve. The vagina is a self-cleaning organism and using anything other than clean water can throw off its delicate balance, resulting in irritation and infections. If you must use soap, choose an unscented, gentle one.
6. Use lube
Sometimes you’re just a bit drier down there than usual, and that’s totally normal – it can be caused by a change in hormones, pregnancy, menopause or a range of other factors. But having penetrative sex when you’re not properly lubricated is not only painful, but it can cause tears and abrasions – the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and germs that can lead to infections.
7. Cycle safer
No, we’re not talking about your monthly cycle, but actual cycling on a bicycle. If you frequently hit the exercise bikes at gym (or a regular bicycle), you may experience pain, numbness and/or tingling down there – all of which is pretty unpleasant. To help avoid this, wear padded shorts and make sure your position on the seat is correct.
8. Offset antibiotics
Antibiotics are a part of life, but they can seriously throw off your system’s balance, killing the good bacteria that ensure a healthy vagina. When you’re prescribed a course of antibiotics, make sure your doctor also recommends some probiotics that you can take simultaneously, to help protect and restore your internal flora.
9. Always do these five things after sex
After sex, you’re actually more prone to infections and a build-up of bad bacteria. Here are five things every woman should be doing after sex.
Book your next women’s wellness check up now
Don’t put it off any longer – if you’re due for your next women’s wellness check up, make an appointment now.
Simply find your nearest Marie Stopes centre and make a booking online. You’ll be treated in a welcoming, confidential environment by our qualified and caring nurses. Put your mind at ease – make an appointment now.