Be good to your vagina. She's good to you.
Summer season calls for many fun things under the sun: the beach, the pool, BBQs, and picnics. But it also means super-warm weather, which means sweat.
Now, nothing is wrong with sweating. It's perfectly healthy and normal. However, it's all the more reason to make sure we stay cool and pay attention to our hygiene even more. Women, in particular, have to pay extra attention down there.
In an article for Medical Daily, gynecologist Dr. Andrea Randall says that the risk of getting a vaginal infections increases in the summer. One of these is genital/vulvovaginal candidiasis. Also known as a yeast infection, this happens when there's an overgrowth of normal yeast in the vagina.
Since we sweat more in the summer due to the heat, places like the vulva become more moist, which allows fungus and yeast to thrive. Vaginitis and Urinary Tract Infections can also occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "nearly 75 percent of all adult women have had at least one 'yeast infection' in their lifetime. On rare occasions, men may also get genital candidiasis."
To avoid being a part of that percentage, Medical Daily provided a list of six mistakes to avoid doing in the summer to ensure safety from these vaginal diseases.
1. Sitting for a long time
If you're in the same position for hours at a time, your genital area heats up due to the lack of airflow, which leads to more moisture. Combined with heat and friction, it causes irritation in the skin, making it a breeding ground for bacteria. Try getting up and walking around every few hours to allow airflow. At the same time, you're stretching out your muscles.
An estimated 20 to 40 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 use a vaginal douche. However, it's not really needed. Dr. Randall says that the vagina cleans itself through the use of natural secretions. Using soap and wipes actually increases the chance of a vaginal infection because you're washing out "the good bacteria."
"The vulva and vagina should be cleaned with only warm water and a white cotton washcloth," she says. Also, wipe from the front to back and use white, unscented toilet paper.
3. Lacking proper menstrual hygiene
Yes, periods are a natural part of our health as women. But with the risk of vagina infections, it's even more important to take care of yourself during mother nature's monthly visit.
Use tampons or switch out your pads frequently, every four hours. Gynecologist Dr. Toni Long says that anything that comes in contact with your body has potential "chemicals," so therefore, be careful with the products you use. With pads and tampons, your skin may become sensitized to any irritants if you use the same product for many years. She recommends switching brands every now and then, and using the most neutral products with less fragrance and chemicals.
4. Using non-cotton panties
Yes, silk and velvet panties are sexy and feel nice, but they are fabrics that can retain moisture; therefore, there's a higher chance of getting vaginal infections. Cotton, on the other hand, is breathable and keeps the skin cool and dry. Another option is not wearing underwear at all. In fact, gynecologists recommend that you don't wear underwear to sleep.
5. Shaving, waxing, or plucking the genital area
If you're planning on hitting the beach or the pool and want to get rid of that pesky hair down there, gynecologists recommend doing it the day before. This reduces the chances of irritation due to infected pores. Also, don't shave it all off! Just keep it at a bare minimum and moisturize right after with natural moisturizers such as virgin olive oil.
6. Wearing a damp bikini
This may look sexy and all, but wearing a damp bikini for hours and hours allows the yeast to grow (moisture is their breeding ground, remember?) So make sure you dry off or change into dry clothing. A sexy look is not worth the vaginal infections.
You can make the summer season an incredibly enjoyable and healthy time. You don't want to deal with one vaginal infection after another, so keep these warnings in mind while you have your summer fun!