The Care & Keeping of Your Vagina — How to Have a Healthy Vagina
This post is sponsored by RepHresh, the maker of feminine hygiene products, and SheKnows Media.
Before I became a sex educator, I didn't think much about vaginas.
I had a pretty good relationship with mine. She brought lots of pleasure and, thanks to my birth control, not too much angst. But mostly she was just there: a part of my body like any other.
When I started selling sex toys in college, my world became all about tingly bits. Since most of my clients are people with vulvas, that meant learning a lot about vaginas! Like:
- They vary a lot in terms of what they look and smell like and what sensations they enjoy
- They get longer and wider when you're fully aroused
- A balance of good and bad bacteria (more good, than bad) keeps your vagina healthy and happy and running smoothly.
Now I read, write, and teach about vaginas all the time! Usually I answer many versions of the question, "Is my vagina healthy and normal?"
The short answer: Probably.
The long answer: Your vagina is magnificent and complex and many factors influence how it feels. But since most of us don't talk about, never mind see a variety, it can be hard to tell when something is truly off or when it's just how your beautiful body works.
That's why I was so excited for the chance to chat about the mighty vajayjay with Naama Bloom from Hello Flo aka the #girlboss genius behind the Camp Gyno and First Moon Party.
In the video we chat about feeling fresh down below, how to deal when things get a bit off-balance, and our pre-sex rituals. It was girl talk at it's absolute finest.
Plus I learned even more about two major factors that influence your vaginal health: pH and microbiome. Before you cover your eyes and click away, I promise I don't geek out too hard...unless you ask me to!
pH is a measure of how acidic or basic something is. Distilled water is Switzerland neutral with a pH of 7. Different parts of the body work best at different pH values. Blood is slightly alkaline with a pH around 7.36-7.41. Healthy vaginal pH is typically 3.5 to 4.5. This is ideal for beneficial bacteria to thrive and creates a hostile environment for pathogenic or bad bacteria that can cause odour and infection. The lower pH of your vag is why it's such a fantastic self-cleaning tool!
Keeping the pH environment of the vagina in balance helps prevent infection like yeast and Bacterial Vaginosis. The opposite is also true: if the pH down there gets messed, it can increase your risk for infections, odour, and discomfort. pH imbalance is most likely to occur:
- After your period
- Before or after sex
- After douching
Fun fact: yeast infections usually don't have a smell associated with them. So if you smell something off down there, it's more likely to be a pH imbalance than a yeast infection.
"Microbiome" is the fancy name for all the bacteria that live in your body. You probably heard about the gut microbiomeâ€”keeping it balanced is the reason probiotics have become so popular in the last few years.
However, you have many strains of good bacteria that work throughout your body to keep it running well. This includes your vagina! Probiotics for your vag, like RepHresh Pro-B Feminine Probiotic Supplement, are clinically shown to balance yeast and bacteria to maintain vaginal health. RepHresh Pro-B provides probiotic lactobacillus that balances yeast and bacteria to maintain vaginal flora in a normal, healthy range.
Long story short: you want the good bacteria to keep the vaginal environment balanced.
4 More Easy Ways Keep Your Vagina Healthy & Happy
Now that you have the basics down, and know that a probiotic can help keep your vagina healthy and normal, what else can you do to keep her happy? Here are four more easy ideas.
- No soap. Seriously ya'll: give yourself a rinse with warm water (as I mention in the video, I highly recommend doing so with a removable showerhead for: reasons). That's all the vag needs to stay clean. Otherwise she does it on her own.
- Let her breathe. I love stretchy pants as much as the next person but hanging out in them too often is a no-no for letting your vagina breathe. Also: avoid sleeping in your undies whenever possible. If you must, opt for something cotton. My girl Kimmay gives you some more ideas about the best panties for letting the air in.
- If anything is off, check in with a healthcare provider you trust. And if you put off going to the doctor because you don't love your gyno, may I suggest getting a new one?
Every vagina is different.
You may go your whole life without ever getting a yeast infection, pH imbalance, or other issue. Or you might get them all the time. Ultimately it's about figuring out what works for you (and her) so that you feel comfortable and confident...and able to enjoy all her pleasures
Today's post is sponsored by RepHresh™, the maker of feminine hygiene products and, the clinically tested, #1 trusted brand that empowers women to take control of their vaginal health, and I received compensation for writing this piece on vaginal health. Opinions are always my own. If I didn't believe in it, you wouldn't hear about it. Thanks for your continued support!