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As the days get longer, the weather (hopefully) takes a turn for the better, and summer holidays become a reality, you may find yourself paying closer attention to your vaginal health. Hot weather can affect your vaginal health by disrupting the delicate balance in the intimate area.
Spending more time relaxing on the beach, swimming in pools or lounging in a hot tub, feels great but can cause problems for your intimate area. The double whammy of a warm and moist environment are the perfect conditions for yeast infections1.
Many of us also find the summer months are a time when we relax our otherwise healthy behaviours. Travelling can pose a particular challenge in avoiding UTIs because of the balance between staying hydrated and emptying the bladder frequently enough.
For some people, sexual health on holiday also needs consideration. Don’t forget to buy and pack condoms, alongside your regular birth control, for protection against STIs.
By following our five simple tips, you can fully enjoy the warmer months while maintaining your vaginal health:
As temperatures rise, spending more time in damp, sweaty clothing can increase the risk of yeast infections. Natural fabrics that either absorb or wick away moisture will help to keep your intimate area dry and free from infection2. For daily underwear, your pants should be made of cotton or have a cotton crotch – save the lacy numbers for special occasions! There is also no harm in packing an extra pair of underwear in your bag to change into on particularly hot days.
Wearing swimwear, especially when you are in and out of water, means a moist environment that’s ripe for yeast to flourish. Try to limit the amount of time you spend in constrictive clothing and damp bottoms to avoid possible irritation and infection. Dry yourself off thoroughly after a swim to keep yourself more comfortable and protected. Once you’re back home after a day at the beach try going commando for a while to let your bits air out.
When the weather is warmer it is only natural to shower more regularly – but your vagina does not need any extra attention. Highly scented soaps or shower gels can affect your intimate health by upsetting the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina3. Warm water and unscented soap are all that is required for a healthy vagina. Douching, or vaginal steaming - a new trend that hit social media in 2021 - are unnecessary as the vagina is self-cleaning.
For many of us sunny weather means more barbecues, ice creams and relaxed evenings in a pub garden. Regular alcohol consumption4 and an excess of sugar5 have the potential to upset our intimate health. If you want to enjoy a summertime drink, then you could opt for a mocktail with unsweetened cranberry juice6. Summer is also a fabulous time to move away from heavier, comfort foods by packing in more fruits and vegetables which are easier to digest than stodgy winter carbs.
As well as cleaning up your diet why not consider adding a friendly bacteria supplement to your beach bag. Strains such as Lactobacillus paracasei F-19®, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® are proven to survive to reach the vagina alive.
Read What is Lactobacillus? to find out more about Lactobacillus bacteria.
Health professionals can read more about the Lactobacillus genus over on the Probiotics Database.
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