The first thing we need to know about our vaginas is that they’re smart. They self-regulate, they communicate, and they’re firm in their preferences; their likes and dislikes. They’re also pretty consistent across the board so while not all vaginas are created equal, there are things that are true for basically all of them, and that’s what we’re here to talk about.
Here are five fool-proof ways to love your vagina.
1. GET TO KNOW HER SO YOU KNOW WHEN THINGS AREN’T RIGHT
When things are copacetic down there, you’ll know. Which means when something’s up, you’ll know that too. Common signs that your vagina needs some attention include:
- Irregular discharge: thick and white and lumpy, thin white or grey, or discharge with a yeasty odour
- A strong fishy smell, especially post-coital
- Pain, itching, burning
- Pain or burning during sex
- Itching around the vulva (the outside of the vagina)
- Redness or swelling
After heading to your GP or sexual health clinic to rule out STIs or other infections, you’ll want to address these signs because, let’s face it, it does not sound fun. These are also signs of some common vaginal experiences like thrush or bacterial vaginosis so once we know what it is, we can manage what’s going on and better prepare ourselves to stop it recurring.
2. LEAVE YOUR V BE
It might feel like a healthy vagina is a clean vagina and that’s true, but here’s nature’s secret: she’s self-cleaning. All you need is the normal warm water from your bath or shower. No soaps, no douching, no scrubs, no perfume.
This is largely due to the fact that our vaginas, like our guts, have their own microbiome and that microbiome keeps things ticking along. We’ll get into it more later but basically, if you’re taking care of your microbiome, the rest will take care of itself.
Keeping it clean also means: changing underwear regularly, washing it in hot water after a bout of thrush, not sitting around too long in wet togs or clothes, and letting it breathe - sleeping without underwear or swapping out lacy thongs for cotton briefs on some days is an easy way to do this.
3. ALWAYS PEE ONCE YOU’VE DONE THE DEED
You know how we mentioned the vaginal microbiome? Well, it’s a delicate environment in there so when something new is introduced to it (tampons, moon cups, toys, hands, penises) we want to be sure it doesn’t disrupt that fine balance of bacteria we’ve got going on.
That’s why tampons are sterile and we should always have clean toys and other silicone products. So, when it comes to another body part from another person - which comes with its own range of bacterias - we want to flush all of that out by going to the bathroom after sex. We’re not saying that penises, or hands, or mouths are dirty, it's just that the bacteria from anyone or anywhere else mightn’t gel with the bacteria of our own.
When we pee, we’re basically washing all that bacteria out which is essential in preventing UTIs and other infections.
4. KNOW WHAT KINDA LUBE’S IN YOUR TUBE
Bringing it back to the microbiome, when there’s an imbalance between good and bad bacteria, it creates the ultimate environment for bacterial infections like thrush to thrive. So, introducing anything that is going to disrupt that environment is best avoided. This includes some lubricants. Yeast, which is fine in small doses but not when it overruns, loves the following ingredients (or ‘foods’ as it might call it):
- Propylene glycol
These are found in many commercial lubricants which means our natural bacterias will eat this, love it, and then multiply. No bueno.
Our vaginas are also super absorbent, like SUPER absorbent, so keep in mind that anything that goes up there is going to make its way to the bloodstream. So, a good rule of thumb when it comes to creams and lotions and gels is: “If you wouldn’t ingest it, don’t insert it”.
Ingredients like parabens, for example, can disrupt hormone function so, to be on the safe side, go au naturel and look for a pH level similar to that of our vaginas - between 3.2 and 4.5. If products contain flavours, scents, or something like glitter (yikes), take it out of your basket.
We recently discovered the locally made Come Clean lube, with hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera and New Zealand organic hemp seeds, its gentle, silky smooth, and non-sticky to help you slide into Pleasure Town, baby.
5. TAKE A BILLION FOR YOUR BRAZILIAN
The microbiome of our vaginas can directly impact our likelihood of getting:
- Some cancers
Have you ever had an itch, done some googling, and then been told to throw back (or sit in) as much greek yoghurt as you can? That’s because our vaginas want that good bacteria as much as our guts do.
And these bacterial infections struggle to take hold if we have a nice and balanced microbiome. This means taking a daily vaginal probiotic (or ingesting probiotic foods - both with billions of good bacteria) sets us up for good sexual health.
V Good Probiotics is our newest addition to the Eve lineup which is a premium probiotic with four scientifically studied strains for easy ‘down there’ care and gut health.
Things that can impact good vaginal health are:
- New Sexual Partners
The first three might be more widely known and that’s because alcohol kills off good bacteria, sugar feeds and spurns bad bacteria, and antibiotics kill off all bacteria - good or bad - and requires a bit of a gut (or vaginal reset) during and after the course of meds.
New sexual partners affect our vaginal microbiome because the coming together of two microbiomes is like introducing two families - they’re completely different to one another and while some will get on, others won’t.
We can manage these disruptive external factors by:
- Peeing after sex
- Eating a lot of probiotic foods and taking a daily probiotic
- Washing hands before and after sex
- Using a condom until you’re comfortable without (but keep doing steps 1-3)
Some of this advice might feel older than water but what might be new information, is why we do it. It’s all in the name of a happy and healthy microbiome which means no unexpected changes, sensations, or appearances.
Not to be considered old husband’s tales: good hygiene, good foods, moderation, and peeing-to-be-on-the-safe-side are all, we think, quick, manageable, and effective vagina-loving practises that’ll set you up for a stress-free V.