So, you’ve had your yearly gynecological exam, you’re practicing safe sexual activity, and you’re tracking your cycle and menstrual symptoms with Oohvie. Is it enough, or is there more you can do to bolster your female reproductive health? Oohvie compiled five of our most important female health tips you can do every day to ensure your personal wellness.
Eat Probiotic & Antioxidant-Rich Foods
The vaginal canal is a microbiome, a community of bacteria and other microbes that keep your system healthy. The vagina needs good bacteria just like your stomach does to inhibit the formation of harmful bacteria, viruses, yeast, and infections. You want a slightly acidic environment to keep the good bacteria healthy, but that’s easier said than done when you factor in hormonal shifts due to birth control, antibiotics, and even some form of lubricants.
That’s why you should incorporate generous amounts of probiotics and antioxidants into your diet to keep your vaginal microflora happy. Foods like yogurt, cheese, fermented foods like sauerkraut or pickles already contain the good bacteria your body needs to stay healthy. Prebiotic foods like onions, garlic, and leeks assist in promoting good bacteria growth. Fruits rich in antioxidants and vitamin C like blueberries and blood oranges are perfect for fortifying immune system health, reducing free radical damage, and protecting against cancer. Since these are all water-soluble and pass through the system quickly, you should take them regularly to maintain optimal health.
Wash, Don’t Scrub
Your vagina has the most delicate tissues in the body and is typically hot, dark, and moist, making it a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. The absolute last thing you want to do is have wounds or scratches thrown into the mix. When you wash, you should use a soft cloth and gently wipe the area. Don’t use a brush, sponge, loofa, dangerous steam pot devices, or anything else that could break the skin.
Wipe, Wash, Clean from Front to Back—Always
While we’re on the subject, you should always, always, always wash, wipe, or otherwise clean yourself from front to back. Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading germs like E. coli from your anus to your vagina. If wiping is an issue, perhaps due to limited mobility, consider installing a bidet in your home bathroom to help with your hygiene needs.
Say No to Perfumed Products
Your vagina isn’t supposed to smell like an enchanted rain forest or apple pie or fresh linen or any of the other scents you find in pads, tampons, liners, feminine sprays, body washes, or soaps. Avoid all of them because they upset the PH balance of your vaginal microbiome. Your vagina is a self-cleaning organ. There’s really no need for anything except water on the inside. Do not douche with soap or vinegar. The vulva should be washed regularly, but you should use unscented mild soaps to gently clean the area.
Wear Cotton Underwear
Go ahead and wear your silk and lace on special occasions, but day-to-day, be sure to remember that cotton undies are your go-to. Make sure they aren’t too tight! If you take your undergarments off at the end of the day and find chaffing, compression marks, or an excess of sweat, that’s a sign your underwear are too restricting, which can upset the delicate PH balance of your vagina. Wear comfortable undergarments and breathable outwear to keep yourself healthy.
As always, keep Oohvie updated with your cycle data, symptoms, and behaviors to keep your HealthLynked provider up-to-date on your healthcare needs.