Most women at one time or another have felt like they needed some extra care down there. All too often we don’t realise that our everyday habits can be contributing to our sometimes poor vaginal health but we may just as well have the answers. We sat down with Integrative Medicine Expert, Dr Cris Beer, to find out the top five tips your vagina wish you knew:
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Lay off the sugar
When your vaginal bacteria is off balance, it’s a good idea to lay off sugar, including all refined sugars, as well as fruit juices, dried fruits and syrups. Also go easy on refined carbohydrates, starches and yeast.
Instead, top up your diet with plenty of water for hydration, loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, natural yoghurt (which contains live, good bacteria) and other fermented dairy products.
Give it a gentle nudge with probiotics
Healthy vaginal flora is dominated by Lactobacilli, a common probiotic which acts against infection and discomfort. Supplementing with a probiotic, containing a specific combination of clinically-trialled probiotic strains for vaginal and women’s health, can help to keep the environment acidic, boosting the balance of ‘good’ bacteria in the area.
Choose the right bottoms and keep them dry
Beach season is officially upon us, and while a dip in the ocean can work wonders for our physical and mental health, it can sometimes do damage to our vaginal health. Keep your nether region clean and dry – try to towel off or change into clean and dry clothes as soon as possible after a dip or a shower (yeast and ‘bad’ bacteria thrive in moist, dark places – and your wet swimsuit is the bullseye).
Also, go for loose, cotton underwear (or other natural fibres) as much as possible. The same applies for pads, tampons or liners.
Play it safe
Of course, using condoms or another form of sexual contraception should be obvious! But aside from safe-sex, it’s important to be safe in other ways too. If you’re due for a pap smear, make sure you follow through. Even if you’re not currently sexually active or have been with the same partner for years, it’s important to have a regular checks to eliminate any serious health problems down there.
Choose the right soaps to wash with
Choose products carefully – don’t use any harsh soaps, body washes or other cleaning products on your vagina – warm water washing is perfectly fine, or choose an organic, chemical-free wash.
Likewise, be sure to wash underwear and bathers in an anti-fungal or eco-friendly detergent, with as little substances as possible.
Speak to your healthcare practitioner if symptoms persist. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.