1. Stay clean and dry! Vaginas are more efficient than a self-cleaning oven! Skip soap all together or use a mild soap on the inner thighs and over pubic hair. Once out of the shower, gently towel off excess water and air dry whenever possible. Trim, shave, wax, or au naturale? You decide, it’s your vagina!
2. Always choose cotton! Wouldn’t it be nice to never where clothes? Ok, well, your vagina would agree with me. Vaginas like to breathe… always choose cotton underwear and your vagina will thank you with fewer yeast and bacterial infections.
3. Don’t rush sex! Getting turned on, I mean REALLY turned on, from foreplay and sex is probably the most pleasurable way to love your vagina. When you’re turned on, fresh, oxygenated blood floods the tissues bringing nourishment, vitality, and increased elasticity into your tissues. The natural lubrication your body secretes cleanses your vagina and helps to wash away harmful bacteria, and finally, the extra mind-blowing orgasm you get from being properly warmed up will strengthen/rebuild your pelvic floor and elevate numerous issues from pain to incontinence. Take your time… it’s good for you!
4. Strengthen your pelvic floor! The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published an article in 2009 forecasting the number of American women with at least one pelvic floor disorder will increase from 28.1 million in 2010 to 43.8 million in 2050. Why? Because women are not educated in how to properly strengthen the muscles that are supposed to hold up all of our organs, push out babies, and give us conscious control over our bladder and bowels. Let’s practice a real, Conscious Kegel…. Close your eyes and tune into your breath. Feel you lungs expand with your inhale. Now, sense you belly explained and gently contact with your inhale and exhale. Finally, see if you can feel your breath in your pelvic floor (at the base of your torso, encompassing all the passages at the base of your body). As you breathe feel the pelvic floor expanding into the front, back and sides on your inhale and a gentle drawing back on your exhale. If you wish, add a little extra life at the end of your exhalation. Okay, keep practicing and look out for a post on Jade Eggs!
5. Stop using tampons! Some are more guilty then others, but most tampons are made un-natural rayon and plastics and then bleached using chlorine, which results in the production of dioxin, linked to breast cancer, endometriosis, and immune system suppression. In extreme cases, these chemicals can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). The best alternatives are reusable products like menstrual cups or cloth pads Natural cotton tampons and pads also make a good alternative.
6. Use a barrier-method birth control! If you don’t know for sure where your partner has been you should use a condom.
7. Consider your pH! Vaginal pH prefers to be slightly more acidic then the rest of the body , hanging out between 3.5 and 4.5. When there is an imbalanced you can experience symptoms from itchiness and odor to UTI’s, fertility issues , and even preterm labor. Sex, your moon cycle, soaps/douches, and diet are some of the key players in affecting your pH, but sometimes the shift seems to happen for no apparent reason.
8. Nourish yourself (and your vagina) with healthy food and probiotics! Eat a balanced diet rich in organic vegetables, fruits and proteins. Several studies have shown that healthy women have a lot of healthy lactobacilli bacteria in their vaginal tract. Supplementing with a probiotic high in lactobacilli may help keep your vagina happy and pH balanced.
9. Get tested! Go see your OB/GYN or midwife annually to ensure all is healthy and well.
10. Two words: Self LOVE! Because you and your vagina deserve it!