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I’m a pharmacist – here’s 11 easy ways to care for your vagina in the heat (and why you should go commando)

WITH the weather really hotting up, it’s important to prioritise your vaginal health. 

After all, our vaginas spend most, if not all, of the day covered up which can lead to a build up of sweat and bacteria. 

Hot weather can wreak havoc down there

This is especially the case during the warmer months and the sweat build-up can lead to infections, in particular yeast infections, with symptoms such as itching, soreness, excess discharge and often a strong (unappealing!) odour. 

Boots Pharmacist Bina Mehta says thrush – a common yeast infection – tends to grow in warm, moist conditions and develops if the balance of bacteria changes. 

During summer, thrush is far more common as vaginas and vulvas – the outer part of the genital area – are kept enclosed.

So while you’re feeling hot, hot, hot, make sure your vagina stays cool and collected with these care-for-down-there tips…

1. Choose your undies wisely

“To help avoid thrush in the summer, I would advise wearing breathable clothing such as cotton underwear,” says Bina. She also recommends changing out of wet swimwear as soon as possible and drying off properly after swimming.

2. Just use water!

You’ve probably heard it before, but Bina reiterates that the vagina is self-cleaning and washing it or douching can upset its natural pH, causing an overgrowth of harmful bacteria or yeast. 

“Using perfumed soaps or antiseptic products in the vulva area can do the same. 

The best way to keep your vulva clean is using water and unperfumed soap and to take showers instead of baths.”

3. Limit the sweat

It’s easier said than done during summer, but avoiding peak heat between the hours of 12 and 3pm can help prevent your from getting too hot. 

If you are outside, stay in shady areas if possible. Healthspan’s Medical Director, Dr Sarah Brewer, recommends using panty liners which can be changed regularly throughout the day.

4. Use a hot iron 

When underwear is washed and dry, Dr Brewer says a hot iron over the gusset of underwear could kill any candida spores (a type of yeast) which are not neutralised by modern low-temperature wash cycles.

5. Wipe front to back

Perhaps not the natural way you’d wipe down there after going to the toilet, but wiping from the front to the back stops any bacteria and poo from your rectum going into your vagina and causing a stir.

6. Go bare at bedtime

Let your vagina breathe and avoid wearing underwear to bed. Instead, opt for baggy pyjama bottoms that allow air to circulate and stop sweat from accumulating.

WFH? Give your vagina some breathing space and go commando at home. 

7. Prepare for post-workout

To avoid your vaginal area getting itchy or smelly from gym sweat and chafing, always pack a clean set of clothes, including underwear and socks, for after your workout. 

“If your gym has showers, make sure to wash yourself after a workout to prevent sweat build up – don’t keep your used kit on,” says Bina.

8. Try a vagina deodorant 

Ponging? Bina says it’s completely normal to smell more during the summer months as sweat can affect the smell of the vulva. 

Underwear and clothing can make it difficult for this sweat to escape. 

Plus, chemicals from the pool or sea water can get absorbed into the fabric of swimwear which can contribute to a change of odour in the vulval area. 

However, much like you have a deodorant for your underarms, you can also find deodorants specifically for down there.

“My advice to help prevent odours is to wear cotton underwear that’s not too tight, change your underwear regularly, and wash your vulva regularly without perfumed soap or antiseptic products. 

“If you must use a deodorant make sure this is one specifically made for use in this area.”

Worried other people can smell you? “We appear to be more sensitive to our own natural smell than to that of others. 

“Think about how often you can ‘smell’ other women – chances are it’s never,” says Dr Brewer.

TRY Femfresh Deodorant Spray (£2.50, 125ml)

9. Don’t shave on a beach day

Although you might feel inclined to head to the beach fuzz-free, open pores from shaving can actually increase the risk of irritation and infection. 

By shaving the night before, pores have a chance to close and any salt and chemicals in water are less likely to lead to soreness. A bit of fuzz never hurt anyone!

10. Hold off on the yoghurt

Yoghurt inserted up the vagina has famously been hailed as a remedy for yeast infections, however, Bina says, there is no research to suggest that eating yoghurt, or inserting it into your vagina, will help treat thrush.

“If you think you have thrush please speak to a pharmacist, who can recommend the most suitable, clinically proven solution for you.”

11. Wash BEFORE sex

As well as after, to avoid the build up of bacteria. Use an unperfumed soap for a much cleaner love making session. 

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