Summer brings with it many things – warmer weather, beach trips, and endless afternoons spent basking under the sun. However, when temperatures soar, physiological changes are sure to follow – sweat, dehydration, and dampness in one’s nether regions, for instance. So when it comes to your health down there, what should you worry about? Here’s what our MDs want you to know about how summer affects your gynecologic health:
Your vaginal health is well protected against the elements – including during a heat wave.
Your gynecological health is surprisingly resilient – and since your vagina is an organ inside your body, it largely regulates itself. It maintains its own internal temperature and does not require special cleaning products to achieve optimal vaginal health. That means, despite the sweat and otherworldly heat you may experience during the summer months, you don’t need to be overly aggressive about your vaginal hygiene.
The consensus: The vagina is more than capable of balancing its own pH when it’s hot out – sweat and all.
Being in a wet bathing suit shouldn’t disrupt your vaginal balance.
For the average woman, lounging in a wet bathing suit for an extended period of time shouldn’t lead to an increased risk of yeast infections. “Excessive moisture around the vulva is a known trigger for irritation and skin dermatitis, but doesn’t increase a healthy person’s risk for yeast infections,” says Dr. Nithya Gopal, Director of OB/GYN and Fibroid Specialist at Viva Eve. “However, in those patients who are prone to getting irritating symptoms of itching, burning, discharge (who may struggle with vaginitis concerns), the excessive moisture can be a trigger that further throws off the vaginal pH and provokes a cycle of bacterial/yeast superimposed infection.”
The consensus: If you’re worried, bring a change of bottoms next time you’re beach/pool-side (opt for moisture-wicking fabric such as cotton and wicking polyester).
Shaving or waxing your bikini line should be practiced with caution.
During the summer months, you may want to sport a freshly shaved or waxed bikini line. However, when it comes to removing pubic hair, it’s easy to irritate the delicate skin around your pubic area. If you aren’t careful, your efforts to become hair-free could lead to ingrown hairs, uncomfortable razor burn, and folliculitis (an infection in the hair follicles).
The consensus: “There are a few ways to minimize risk while maintaining your bikini line,” says Dr. Gopal. “Avoid using an old razor if your preferred method of removal is shaving, and don’t shave every day (or shave in the wrong direction). This will reduce the risk of ingrown hairs and razor burn.” If you prefer waxing, make sure you choose a trained, reputable specialist and if you wax yourself, choose your products carefully. Visit your ObGyn, if in doubt.
Overall, the summer, while hot and (at times) dank, your vaginal health and all of its reproductive functions will likely be perfectly fine.