7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Vaginal Infections in the Summer
Summer is a time for fun in the sun, but it can also bring an increased risk of vaginal infections. The heat and humidity can create the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive, leading to uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms. However, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from vaginal infections this summer. Here are seven ways to stay healthy and comfortable:
1. Wear Breathable Clothing
One of the easiest ways to prevent vaginal infections is to wear loose, breathable clothing. Tight-fitting clothes can trap moisture and heat, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Instead, opt for cotton or other natural fibers that allow air to circulate and keep you cool. Avoid synthetic materials like nylon and polyester, which can trap moisture and increase your risk of infection.
2. Practice Good Hygiene
Good hygiene is essential for preventing vaginal infections. Make sure to wash your genital area daily with mild soap and warm water. Avoid using harsh soaps or douches, which can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. After using the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent the spread of bacteria from your anus to your vagina. And if you’re sexually active, make sure to wash your hands and genitals before and after sex.
3. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is important for overall health, but it can also help prevent vaginal infections. When you’re dehydrated, your body produces less vaginal discharge, which can make it easier for bacteria and yeast to grow. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
4. Avoid Hot Tubs and Pools
While swimming can be a great way to cool off in the summer, hot tubs and pools can be breeding grounds for bacteria. The warm, moist environment is perfect for bacteria and yeast to grow, and chlorine may not be enough to kill all the germs. If you do decide to swim, make sure to shower and change out of your wet swimsuit as soon as possible.
5. Use Protection During Sex
Sexual activity can increase your risk of vaginal infections, especially if you have multiple partners or don’t use protection. Using condoms can help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reduce your risk of bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. If you’re prone to infections, consider using a water-based lubricant to reduce friction and irritation.
6. Take Probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help maintain the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. Taking a daily probiotic supplement or eating foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut can help prevent vaginal infections and reduce your risk of recurrent infections. Look for products that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is the most common strain of bacteria found in the vagina.
7. See Your Doctor
If you experience symptoms of a vaginal infection, such as itching, burning, or discharge, it’s important to see your doctor. They can perform a pelvic exam and take a sample of your vaginal discharge to determine the cause of your symptoms. Depending on the type of infection, they may prescribe antibiotics, antifungal medication, or other treatments to help clear up the infection.
In conclusion, vaginal infections can be uncomfortable and even painful, but there are several steps you can take to protect yourself this summer. By wearing breathable clothing, practicing good hygiene, staying hydrated, avoiding hot tubs and pools, using protection during sex, taking probiotics, and seeing your doctor if you experience symptoms, you can reduce your risk of infection and stay healthy and comfortable all summer long.