With the official start of summer right around the corner and the sun’s rays practically knocking on our door for us to come out and play, many of us are ready to throw caution to the wind and live. But just because you’re feeling carefree doesn’t mean you’re allowed to be careless when it comes to your vagina this season. After all, there are all sorts of ways your vagina can become susceptible to infection during the summer months.
Worried about keeping your bikini bottom clean? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are five ways to stop itching and burning in its tracks and keep yourself infection-free.
Wear cotton or sweat-wicking underwear
Higher temperatures can leave you feeling hot and wet down there, and not in a good way. Extra sweat around the vagina can increase your risk of a yeast infection or irritation. Cotton underwear or underwear made from sweat-wicking material that draws moisture away from the body is your best defense against infection this summer. If neither of those are options for you, just make sure to change out of anything that’s wet – especially after a workout. A quick shower and some dry undies will greatly reduce your risk of bacterial or yeast infections, as well as redness or itchiness.
Shave the day before you head to the beach or pool
Shaving the day before you go to the beach or pool instead of the day-of can reduce your risk of vaginal irritation or infected pores. This is because open pores may not be ready to be exposed to harmful skin environments such as sun, chlorine, and saltwater. Shaving right before hitting the beach may result in stinging or burning sensations. If you absolutely have to shave the morning before your pool day, try using hair clippers, which cut close enough to the skin without opening your pores. If you wax, try to stay away from the pool or beach for at least 24 hours.
Change out of that wet bathing suit
Like wet underwear, a wet bathing suit provides a breeding ground for yeast, and can also cause bacterial infections. While spending a day out in the sun usually allows your suit to dry pretty quickly, it’s still important to make sure you don’t have any excess moisture accumulating down there. If you plan on spending the entire day outside, try bringing a dry bathing suit with you to replace your wet one. You should also avoid sitting in a wet bathing suit on a car ride home, and instead rinse off and put some dry clothes on beforehand.
Rinse and repeat
No, I’m not talking about your hair (although getting sand out of your hair is also a major pain). I’m talking about your vagina. Sand can weasel its way into your vaginal canal after a day at the beach, causing irritation during sex and overall discomfort. A quick rinse may get rid of the sand that’s outside of your vagina, but for optimal effects, you should soak in a bath. While the sand will usually find its own way out, having sex before that happens can result in tears to the vaginal wall. Ouch!
Avoid sex in pools, hot tubs, lakes, and oceans
These bodies of water are literally swimming with bacteria. In addition, the chemicals used to keep pools and hot tubs clean are harmful to your vagina. They can disrupt your pH levels, which leads to infection and irritation. Sex in hot tubs is especially dangerous due to hot tub folliculitis, an infection that affects your hair follicles because of the overgrowth of bacteria in warm water. These factors, along with the fact that water washes away natural lubricant and causes painful, unwanted friction during sex, are reasons why you just shouldn’t do it in water – no matter how romantic it seems. If you must, try having sex in the shower – it’s clean, it’s safe, and there’s a bed nearby if you need it.
With these tips, you can keep your lady bits looking, smelling, and feeling fresh all summer long!