From putting your pants in the microwave to swerving baths – how to prevent 'winter vagina'

AS we head into winter months there are some essentials we can't be without, check hat, scarves and gloves.

But now experts have also said that it's essential to make sure your vagina is winter ready.

Just like the gut, the vagina has a delicate microbial ecosystem, known as the microbiome, Claire Foss, nutritional therapist at Optibac Probiotics explains.

Claire said: "Some of our beloved winter habits such as taking hot baths, wearing heavy clothing, and even the dry air from cranking up the central heating can upset the vaginal microbiome, creating the perfect environment for a ‘winter vagina’."

But luckily, there are ways you can look after your vagina this winter, and here, experts have revealed their top tips so you can do just that.

1. Take a shower

Claire said that while baths are a winter staple they can also be sneaky culprits for disrupting the vagina’s natural pH.

"If you’re having a bath, use unscented natural bath products and if you want to add in something that is naturally anti-bacterial pop in a few drops of organic lavender essential oil", she said.

2. Go ‘au naturelle’

Speaking to The Sun, Trish Coulton, founder of & Bondi Laser at home said wearing tights, trousers and layers can restrict the air to our most intimate areas.

She said the area can become a little bit like closed Tupperware, in that it doesn't allow air in, making it impossible for the skin to breathe and keeping everything sealed in.

"It is a melting pot for infections. Symptoms of cystitis and thrush are odour and vaginal discharge, and the bacteria from these infections gets trapped in the bikini hair, exasperating the issue and causing discomfort.

"Wearing tight clothes after shaving can chaff and cause skin infections and also, bikini stubble can become itchy and sore. (We have all walked down the street and had a little wiggle itch)."

3. Get rid

Trish said one of the best ways to reduce the issue associated with winter vagina, such as infections, is to take away the 'bed' that the bacteria hides in.

She added: "A hair free bikini line will help lower the amount you sweat, limit the possibility of odour and help keep things fresh down there.

"I also absolutely advise those with super sensitive winter vaginas to wax more frequently and stay away from the shaving tool as shaving can actually make the problem worse as unless you are swapping your blades every day, the same bacteria can then be spread back onto the skin on the next use and can worsen the problem.

"Bacteria can fester on your shaving tool and putrefy. The best option is to invest in an at home IPL laser device.

"With a home laser you can effectively permanently reduce the hair over five weeks, and it works out on average the cheapest option over the year." 

4. Microwave your underwear

If you're constantly troubled by a yeast infection, then Claire says this could mean that you're not taking care of your underwear properly.

To combat this Claire says you can try ironing the gusset of your knickers.

She added: "You can even pop freshly laundered, damp cotton undies in the microwave for a minute or two to banish lurking pathogens."

5. Don’t over-indulge 

Whether it's office parties of drinks with friends, winter is notorious for being the party season.

No one should have to cut things out of their diet and Claire says that you should just be mindful for sugary foods and booze as your diet can wreak havoc on your vaginal health.

"Sugary foods can feed bacteria or yeast, increasing your chances of bacterial vaginosis, UTI’s and thrush", she added.

6. Consider a supplement

Claire explained that probiotic supplements can be fantastic ways to support both your gut and vaginal health this winter.

She said: "Make sure you pick a probiotic which contains bacteria strains proven to reach the vagina alive like Optibac Probiotics ‘For Women’."

For every box of ‘For Women’ that is sold, Optibac Probiotics make a donation to international women's rights charity, Womankind Worldwide, helping to transform the lives of women around the world.

7. Keep it clean

Trish said that this year, Santa doesn't care if you're naughty or nice, but he would preferably like you to try to maintain a winter vagina routine to avoid odours, thrush, chaffing, itching.

She said: "Always use a paraben-free body wash, your vagina will love you for it. And for those times you do suffer from cystitis or thrush, pop anti-bacterial wipes in your bag and during the day give yourself a quick clean."

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