Who out there actually likes to get sick? Ok, besides the possibility of skipping work and sleeping in late for a day, we can't think of anyone who would prefer to live life with a runny nose, aching muscles, and a sinus headache.
Now imagine, if you will, that those annoying cold or flu symptoms are in your vagina, and you'll begin to understand why maintaining vaginal wellness should be just as high on the health list as preventing the common cold. Because, frankly, it sucks when your body is sick, no matter where the illness is located!
Your vaginal health is just as important as, well, any part of your bodily and mental health! The vag is an often under-served and overlooked part of the body that deserves just as much attention and care as any other body part. (And if you've made your way to this blog, we probably don't need to tell you twice.)
Wondering why and how you can care for your vagina without breaking the bank or having to keep up with a whole new routine? It’s so much easier than you think.
The Importance of Vaginal Health
“Holistic health” has become a buzz phrase thanks to trends like spiritual wellness, yoga and Pilates fitness, and plenty of other New Age-y niches like astrology or using crystal massage wands as sex toys.
“Holistic,” however, isn't a synonym for “spiritual.” It literally means “whole,” as in health and wellness that takes mind, body, and spirit into account when building a lifestyle that supports your overall wellbeing.
When you really think about it, how can you be “holistically” healthy without taking your most precious pleasure and reproduction organ into account?
When your vagina is out of balance, it can affect more than just your genital area. If your V is in pain, constantly itching, or otherwise ill with an infection that your body is working hard to fight, the rest of your physical and mental health can suffer.
Think of it like walking around with a constant bad stomach ache, or a rash that never goes away, or even a small fracture in your wrist that sends a sharp buzz of pain up your arm when you twist it. It's hard to function normally and focus on everyday life, especially pleasure-related activities, when part of your body is sick, injured, and causing you physical discomfort or pain.
The same goes for your vagina. Even beyond the burning pain of a bad yeast infection or the itching and smell of bacterial vaginosis, your sexual health can similarly effect your mood. When your vagina is taking constant sick days from your usual pleasure routine, you probably won't feel up to par overall, either.
Thankfully, maintaining vaginal health isn't rocket science. We at #LubeLufe have gathered some super easy wellness tips and tricks to keep your vagina healthy while treating your entire body with care at the same time.
Your vagina might be one tough mother effer – it can create new life and birth it, after all! – but it takes a little TLC to ensure it's as happy and healthy as the rest of your bod.
Simple Health Hacks for a Happy Vag
Maintain Your Vagina's pH balance
This is honestly the most important part of vaginal health.
A healthy vagina is naturally acidic with a pH of between 3.8 and 4.5. This acidic environment helps protect the vaginal walls from infectious bacteria and yeast overgrowth.
Your pH levels will vary throughout your life and even just between your menstrual cycles, but when your pH is thrown off too much, it can leave you vulnerable to infections like bacterial vaginosis.
So how do you keep your pH in a good spot? Let us count the ways.
- Only wear cotton underwear. Long story short, synthetic underwear doesn't let air pass through the fabric. When fresh air can't reach your vulva, bacteria will build up, enter your vagina, and cause infections. Only 100% cotton undies can keep your vulva aired-out and free from bacterial overgrowth. 'Nuff said.
- Regularly change tampons and pads. Getting your period is natural and healthy, but it also throws off your pH and can make it too basic (and not like “basic bitch” basic, like not acidic enough to keep infections at bay). The longer your blood hangs around in a pad or tampon, the longer it has a chance to mess with your pH and also collect bacteria. Change menstrual products every 4 hours or as soon as possible after that.
- Stay hydrated. What do you think is responsible for that WAP? Yep, it's just plain ol' water. Drinking water increases hydration throughout your entire body, and that of course includes your V. Your vagina needs water to clean itself and stay wet to prevent dryness and irritation.
- Never, ever douche. Even with plain water. Just don't. You'll wash away all the good bacteria that are keeping your vagina healthy, even if some of the baddies are going with it. Your vagina is a self-cleaning organ and doesn't need any help from internal soap or water. Leave it alone, and let it do its thing.
- Skip penetration when your V is ill. Yeah, we know it sucks, but you really need to skip penetrative sex, oral sex, and any kind of sex that introduces bacteria when you've already got an infection. Stick with masturbation or over-the-undies play when you're trying to get rid of a vaginal infection, no matter which kind.
- Use condoms regardless of your relationship status. If your vagina is going through an extra sensitive phase, use a condom when you get down with a partner. Condoms are great barriers to bacteria, viruses, and thus infections, no matter how temporary they may be. They'll protect you from even the most easily curable of infections from yeast or bacteria overgrowth.
- Use bare-minimum soap ingredients when washing. Fragrances and fancy pH soaps make big claims when it comes to keeping you “feeling fresh,” but truthfully, they're just trying to sell you on the idea that a vulva should smell like flowers. Guess what? It shouldn't. Vulvas and the vaginas they protect should smell like genitals: a little musky, and maybe a little sour, but never like perfume. Those artificially-scented soaps can mess with your pH, causing yeast infections that'll really have your V smelling funky. Stick with simple glycerin soap and only wash the outside, meaning the vulva: the lips, clitoris, clitoral hood, and the parts you can actually see.
- Stick with lubes that respect your pH balance. Last but certainly least, since we're #LubeLife and all, always use lubricants that take your pH balance into account. If you're uber sensitive to infection, a water-based lube is a safe bet to keep your vagina comfortably wet for sex without disrupting your body. But even if you need to keep your pH in check, #LubeLife flavored lubes, like our Strawberry Flavored Lubricant or Watermelon Flavored Lube, are formulated to taste as sweet as a dessert without screwing up your vaginal health.
Feed Your Body with Vagina-Friendly Foods
Love to eat? So do we! And luckily there are plenty of foods that contribute to a happy vag. The list could go on and on, but here are some of our favorites for multiple reasons.
- Yogurt and probiotics, like kimchi, Greek yogurt, and kombucha. Your vagina is already full of Lactobacillus acidophilus, which aids in warding off infections. Your gut, mouth, and vagina can all benefit when you add these foods to your diet.
- Avocado. No, they won't actually break your budget, so add this ingredient to your toast or salad whenever possible. Avocado is full of libido-boosting healthy fats, vitamin B-6, and potassium.
- Cranberries. As long as you skip sweetened juices, all-natural cranberries are full of antioxidants and acidic compounds that fight vaginal infections and urinary tract infections alike. Your skin will shine, and your crotch will be thriving.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, grass-fed beef, and spinach. Ok, meat eaters, this one is for you. As it turns out, eating healthy amounts of certain meats can actually help your vaginal wellness. The Omega-3 fatty acids found in these foods aid circulation and heart health, which increases blood flow down below.
- Soy, because it contains phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen and can help with decreasing estrogen levels as you age. Do you even know how trendy soy is right now? From Asian foods to alternative milks, there are myriad ways to tastily work soy into your diet.
Skip Foods Your Vagina Absolutely Hates
- Coffee. Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes your body to expel water, leaving your whole self basically anything other than hydrated, and that means a dry-ass V. While coffee has been known to benefit your mood, it's not great for the vagina, leaving it vulnerable to candida overgrowth (the stuff causes yeast infections when it gets out of control).
- Refined sugars. When you eat candy, bread, and other foods with processed sugars (which doesn't include fruits and other natural sugars), sugar enters your vagina via the bloodstream, making you super prone to yeast infections.
- Alcohol. Booze dries out your vagina and can make it harder to get wet when you're aroused. Have those tasty, craft beers every now and then this summer, but give your body a break from alcohol as much as possible.
- Greasy, high-fat foods. We know, we love french fries, too, but keep the summer grease binge to a minimum. Greasy foods contribute to bacterial vaginosis and an increased risk of infections.
Holistic Health + A Good Diet = A Happy Vagina
However you decide to maintain the lifestyle that keeps you happy, glowing, and feeling mentally and physically refreshed, we support it. Just don't forget to treat that vag to some self-care, too. Your wellness literally depends on it!
Chances are, if it's good for your whole body, it's good for your vagina, too. Do your best at keeping up with all that adulting shit, like tending to your mental health, eating right, and masturbating as much as possible… er, we mean, uh, go to the gym. Yeah, that's it! ;)