The Dao Does… five ways to keep your vagina happy ~
The vaginal ecosystem is a complex environment that features high levels of lactobacilli species that produce hydrogen peroxide. This maintains a low & acidic pH (3.8-4.2), suppressing the growth of bacteria. The acidity of the vagina protects against pathogens introduced through intercourse, hygiene practices, and the external environment (1).
But why is vaginal hygiene so important? Keeping your vagina happy and healthy can have impacts on fertility, pregnancy, STI risk, emotional health, and your relationships (1). It is a topic that should be more widely discussed and something no individual should be nervous about discussing with their health practitioner, as it is so common! Many individuals suffer every day, so please reach out to a health professional if you feel something isn’t right, and let’s normalise understanding our cervical mucus and changes in our bodies.
How to keep your vaginal ecosystem happy? Here are five top ways:
- Eating a colourful diet rich in fibre and fermented foods – this will help introduce different types of bacteria and re-establish a balanced vagina. Our gut microbiome is very closely linked to the vagina microbiome therefore, reducing inflammatory foods, including sugar and alcohol is beneficial.
- Avoid staying in wet clothes or swimmers for a long time – bacteria thrive off damp, warm environments, thus it’s best to take off those wet swimmers to inhibit pathogen overgrowth. On that note – go for cotton underwear that is breathable.
- Ditch the soap down there – opt for only water to be used in the local area of the vagina, any soaps or fragrances will alter the pH of the vagina causing more harm than good. Your vagina is self-cleansing so it will do it for you! If using lubrication, also opt for fragrance-free and pH-friendly.
- Avoid douching or taking long baths with soaps/salts – remember how I mentioned that the vagina is a self-cleansing organ? The smallest of changes in the pH can upset the balance of the ‘good and the ‘bad’. The advice from medical experts states that the risk of complications significantly outweighs any possible benefits of douching.
- Be observant of cervical mucus – the female reproductive organs are an amazing system that supports our health, hormones, and fertility. Cervical mucus is normal. Anyone that has a vagina and vulva should be observing mucus throughout their menstrual cycle, and it does change. What do we need to be observant of? If there is an irritation, redness, odour, or colour change to the mucus then please consult your health practitioner.
For further support, please contact your GP, or discuss your symptoms with our TCM practitioners at the Burraneer clinic.
By Molly Burton
- Moira Bradfield. LIVING WITH A VAGINAL DISCHARGE OR SYMPTOMS THAT YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET RID OF? Intimate Ecology – Gold Coast Vaginal Health Specialist, Naturopath & Acupuncturist. 2019 [cited 2022 Nov 8]. Available from: https://intimateecology.com.au/living-with-a-vaginal-discharge-or-symptoms-that-you-cant-seem-to-get-rid-of/