Women often feel uncomfortable talking about their gynecological health, even to their gynecologists. They may be too embarrassed to bring up any questions or concerns they have, even though most women only meet with a gynecologist once a year for their annual exam.
Summer is an especially important time of year to be conscious of your health in general, as it is easy to become overheated or unhygienic on humid days. Don’t overlook your vaginal health this summer when keeping your overall health in mind- in addition to staying hydrated, eating healthy, exercising, and getting a healthy amount of sun, be sure to follow these six tips to boost your vaginal health- and, most importantly, if you still have questions or concerns about your vaginal health, be sure to bring them up with your gynecologist. It’s their job to look out for you gynecological health, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about!
Change pads and tampons frequently
It can be tempting, on a trip to the beach, to go most of the day without changing your tampon. It is especially important, however, to remember to change pads and tampons every few hours when you’re on your period. Not doing so could result in increased bacterial growth and infections and, in very rare and extreme cases, the life-threatening complication known as toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
Wear cotton underwear
You may not put a lot of thought into the fabric of the underwear you buy (color and design are probably more important considerations), but your vagina favors loose cotton underwear that absorbs moisture to allow for open air flow and minimize odors.
Keep it clean, but be careful!
It may sound like contradictory advice, but you want to keep your private area clean while also avoiding heavily scented soaps or body washes. Warm water is all it takes to keep your vagina feeling fresh, but if you feel more comfortable lathering up, go for a mild, unscented soap. Scented soaps and body washes are just fine for other parts of your body, but they are irritating and drying to the sensitive skin around the vulva and can throw off pH balance.
Practice safe sex
You’ve heard this before, and you probably know how important it is to practice safe sex, yet many women will forget everything they learned in sex ed when they’re at the moment. It is important always to use a condom, as they not only protect against pregnancy and STDs, but also keep the vagina’s pH level balanced so that good bacteria can thrive and protect against yeast infections, UTIs, and bacterial vaginosis. Also be sure to change the condom and clean off between different sex acts.
Wear loose, breathable clothing
In the summer, it is especially important to wear loose, breathable fabrics to wick away moisture and sweat. Wearing looser clothing is not only more comfortable on hot, sticky days, but it is essential for your vaginal health to allow for more ventilation and reduce odors.
Exercise is important for both your physical and mental health, and it even benefits vaginal health. Don’t forget your pelvic muscles when you’re doing your full-body workout. Strengthening those muscles with Kegel exercises can help you to avoid problems like urinary incontinence and also make your body stronger for sex.
Following these tips are a great start to boosting your vaginal health this summer, but never forget to consult your gynecologist as your most valuable resource.