This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to show you bits some love too.
Scarlet is Australia's period brand putting periods at the centre of women's health and wellness. The brand was born out of the need to change the way we think about our cycle and the products we use from day one. They're defining a new, full-cycle approach to periods that is better for your body and doesn't cost the earth.
Here Scarlet’s co-founder Ash Hipwood shares a self-care guide for your bits.
So you look after your hair, skin and nails - but what about your vagina?
Summer is the perfect time to lock away the laptop and unleash your best, most fun and flirty self. Between your beach frolicking, bottomless margaritas - it’s important to not lose sight of our health and wellness - and that starts with your vagina.
Now, you may be wondering why vagina health is at the top of your self care list? Hangovers hurt (especially for those over 30s). But you know what else hurts, thrush, BV, UTI’s, and an all-round uncomfortable v-jay. Summer means heat, humidity, and wet swimmers. Extended contact of the vagina with a warm, moist environment can potentially cause an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast.
So what depicts a healthy vagina?
A normal vaginal pH level is 4.5, this will also vary with age, as we mature so does our vaginal microbiome - so much to look forward to. Both bacterial and fungal overgrowths are due in part to a lack of Lactobacilli and a vaginal pH imbalance. If you do notice a distinctive odour that is not your usual scent then this may be caused by a yeast infection or BV.
Are you reading this and thinking, what on earth is the vaginal microbiome?! You’ve probably heard of the gut microbiome and how this influences our digestive health. The vaginal microbiome is similar in that it operates under a specific set of conditions to keep us healthy. Think of it as an intricate ecosystem that changes and adapts depending on our menstrual cycle, what we are eating, our environment and what our vagina’s are exposed to.
Here are 3 simple ways to maintain good vagina health cue: happy, healthy bits.
1. Consider what you’re putting up there
When we’re talking your bits - in this case we’re talking the most magical of organs and one whose health — or lack thereof — can have a serious impact on your body’s overall wellbeing. “Vaginas are lined by our most sensitive, absorptive skin, and are in a gentle symbiotic balance,” says Dr Raelia Lew, a gynaecologist and infertility specialist, and director of Women’s Health Melbourne. “Our microbiome maintains a perfect pH environment where good bacteria protect us from irritation and infections. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be absorbed from synthetic tampons and pads, with the potential to disrupt our natural hormonal equilibrium. So when it comes to self care down there, it’s important to be conscious about what products we’re putting up there - opt for toxin-free condoms, organic cotton tampons or try a 100% medical-grade silicone period cup for a no strings attached kind of Summer.
2. Less is more
Vaginas are pretty incredible in that they are self-cleansing. Neat, right? So, it must be mentioned, when cleansing your bits, it is a strict outdoor policy only. Keep away from using vaginal soaps or deodorants because that can kill off bad bacteria and totally disrupt your natural vaginal bacterial/pH flow, making you extra prone to yeast infections. Stick to the external vulva with a fragrance free femme cleanser and avoid cleaning the vagina. If you venture indoors, all hell breaks loose and that fishy odour that I was discussing earlier can rear its ugly head.
3. Change regularly
Whilst we are speaking in private, it must be said that our vagina armour needs to be changed regularly in order to avoid infection. Yeast infections just loooovveee warm, moist places, so during a hot and sweaty summer, your vagina becomes the perfect place for them to thrive. Make sure your vagina armour is moisture-wicking, so you aren’t sitting around in sweat. Lighter, cooler fabrics can also help air circulate (think organic cotton!). Avoid sitting in wet swimmers too long, and if you’re on your period always opt for 100% organic cotton period undies. they’re gentle, breathable and comfortable - and offer leak-free protection for sleep or whatever your Summer social schedule has to throw at it.
Now go forth and care for your bits.