Did you know that 65% of those with vaginas are uncomfortable using the words vagina or vulva, and that 45% never talk to anyone about their vaginal health — let alone their doctors? What’s more, research by the Ovarian Cancer Trust has found that 66% of 18 to 24-year-olds are so shy about speaking to their doctors about their vaginas that they avoid going to them altogether, instead preferring to turn to Google for all their gynae-related questions.
“If you have a vagina, talking about it is essential for taking control of its health and wellbeing, which should be a top priority regardless of whether you’re going through puberty, pregnancy, post-menopause or any period in between,” says Toni Carrol, founder of luxury nutricosmetic brand, My Beauty Luv. “This is because, according to the Mayo Clinic, an unhealthy vagina can affect fertility, libido and the ability to orgasm. Worse still, it can even impact self-confidence. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to care of ‘down there’.”
Below, she shares five of her top tips for coochie confidence
1. Keep it clean: Although vaginas are self-cleaning machines thanks to their natural secretions, it’s important to wash the vulva (i.e. the outer parts), regularly with warm water and mild soap – especially after sex to prevent infections. Avoid using feminine washes and sprays as they contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that can disrupt the area’s delicate pH balance. This, in turn, could increase the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition that occurs when there is too much of a certain bacteria in the vagina and is associated with a strong fish-like odour.
2. Practice safe sex: Protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) by using condoms during penetrative sex, either with a penis or a sex toy, and dental dams, which are placed between the mouth and the vagina during oral sex. Signs of STIs include pain during urination, unusual vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, and rashes or sores. Be sure to get tested regularly if you’re sexually active.
3. Science-backed supplements: Those prone to frequent infections, candida flare-ups, inflammation, itchiness, unwanted discharge and embarrassing smells can benefit from natural supplements like Vajayay® which provide effective prevention and treatment of infections, including candida and vaginalis infections as well as urinary tract infections (UTIs). Look for supplements that contain probiotics as these are vital for improving vaginal flora, increasing good bacteria, reducing harmful bacteria, and maintaining the stability of the vaginal flora environment.
4. Go for regular check-ups: This is essential for detecting, diagnosing and treating any potential issues before they become a larger problem. Ideally, those with vaginas should see a healthcare provider annually to check for STIs, get a breast exam, undergo a pelvic exam and get a Pap smear.
5. Keep up the Kegels: Ageing, pregnancy, childbirth, weight gain and even chronic coughing can all contribute to weakened pelvic floor muscles. Unfortunately, this can lead to urinary incontinence and other issues. Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training, can help to prevent this or improve the symptoms of those who are already experiencing the effects. These are performed by lifting and holding and then relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Begin by doing a few Kegels at a time and increase both the length of time and the number of Kegels performed in each set. Ideally, two or three sets should be done each day.
“Caring for your vagina is crucial because, even if you don’t realise, it can have a huge impact, not only on physical health, but mental wellbeing too. Moreover, talking about it and taking care of it, will help to eliminate the shame that stands in the way of so many vagina-owners getting help and reassurance when they need it. I would love for all people with vaginas to have the confidence to advocate for themselves,” concludes Carroll.
For more information visit: https://www.mybeautyluv.com.