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Beaches, barbeques and all the vitamin D you could ask for… Seriously, who doesn’t love summer?!

Well, it turns out your vagina may not actually be the biggest fan – particularly the delicate balance of your vaginal microflora. In fact, the hot season has a lot of pitfalls when it comes to looking after our intimate health, including humid weather, wet swimwear, and the familiar ‘sand in your pants’ situation we all know only too well after a day at the seaside. Ouch…

Science echoes this sentiment, with UTI cases spiking in the summertime1 and causing our vaginal health some serious upset. So, how can we avoid these infections, imbalances and general discomforts? Five simple lifestyle steps are all it takes to kickstart some great self-care down there!

A lot of factors can lead to vaginal discomfort, so make sure you take care this summer

Don’t stay in wet swimwear too long

The same goes for sweaty gym leggings, or anything else, for that matter, which locks in unwanted heat and moisture. These environments create a hotbed for bad bacteria to monopolise your vaginal microbiome, potentially resulting in a yeast infection or UTI. Never heard of the vaginal microbiome before? Well, you’re in luck, because we have a whooole blog about it that we think every woman (and man!) should read!

Back to the point, though: switching out of tight, synthetic materials in favour of some breathable, cotton pants as soon as you can will help to limit potential infections taking hold.

Drink lots of water

When enjoying the hot weather, we should also be working extra hard to stay hydrated. When you don’t, dehydration kicks in far more quickly and can impact every inch of your body. Yes, even your vagina! Think like a houseplant and stay watered by regularly refilling your water bottle, particularly through these warmer months.

Or, instead of swigging back your daily supplements with a dash of water in the morning, you could try specifically pouring yourself a tall glass to slip them down with, then sip the rest of the glass as the morning progresses.

Aim to pee more

Following on from the previous point, if you’re drinking a lot then you should be peeing a lot too. Unfortunately, if you’re at a summer festival or spending a day on the beach, opportunities to go to the toilet are limited.

If you’re able to drink a little more water you’ll naturally have more regular pees. This way, bad bacteria that have taken hold of the urinary tract wall are more likely to be washed out – bye-bye UTI! Perhaps familiarise yourself with where the toilets are so you’re prepped for the day.

It's important to keep an eye on your hydration in hot weather, for a number of reasons

Get prepped with probiotics

So what if after all of that, you still wind up with a case of bacterial vaginosis (BV), thrush or any of the other bacterial nasties that can reside in your intimate area over summer? After all, it’s very common for BV to come back, usually within three months2.

Probiotics containing specific strains – namely L. rhamnosus GR-1® and L. reuteri RC-14® – have been proven to help keep the vagina well supported. If you tend to suffer bacterial/yeast infections in the intimate area it could be a good idea to supplement with these strains daily in the summer months to keep your vaginal microflora well-supported.

At the least you might pack them in your holiday case or keep them on summer standby so if discomfort hits, you’re equipped.

Stay balanced

Stress from busy schedules, increased sugar intake from fruity cocktails in the garden – there’s a lot of things associated with this season that can result in unfortunate shifts for your vaginal health. Hopefully this article has helped you to understand some of these triggers, and can help you avoid them so you have a happy, healthy summer from start to finish, and continued good wellbeing all year round.

If you enjoyed this article, why not take a look at some of the following:
Five Natural Travel Essentials
10 Family Holiday Health Tips
Your Vaginal Flora - What All Women Should Know

References:
1. Simmering, JE, et al. (2017) 'The Increase in Hospitalizations for Urinary Tract Infections and the Associated Costs in the United States, 1998-2011.' Open Forum Infect Dis. 4(1):281
2. NHS (2018) 'Bacterial vaginosis'. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bacterial-vaginosis/

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