We’ve only heard it about a million times: when it comes to a healthy mind and body, exercise is key. What people don’t talk about though is the effect that exercise has on vaginal health. I mean, really, what is that bi-weekly hip-hop hot yoga class doing to your vagina?
In our 20s into the early-40s, and beyond, factors like pregnancy, hormonal shifts, and stress can bring vaginal health and hygiene into the spotlight. Your vagina naturally has bacteria—the good kind—that prevents the overgrowth of yeast and bad bacteria which can lead to Bacterial Vaginosis. Throw in a warm, sweaty post-workout environment (made extra up-close-and-personal via tight leggings) and you’ve got yourself a breeding ground for infection.
Mmm, no thanks.
Enter: The Three Commandments of Pre-Workout Vaginal Health. (A mouthful, we know, but, as always, our favorite yeast infection cure or itchy vagina remedy is *prevention*.)
Thou Shalt Wear Cotton
Moisture-wicking, breathable cotton, to be exact. Workout clothes made from cotton allow airflow and prevent chafing, while materials like nylon and lycra trap moisture and heat i.e. if you’re prone to infections or irritation, avoid the latter.
Thou Shalt Go Commando (Lol)
No, we’re not actually joking. Even wearing cotton underwear adds another layer that can cause irritation and trap moisture, so in this case, less is always best.
Thou Shalt Ditch The Thongs
Seriously. That cheeky bit of fabric that runs from front to back? It’s the perfect mode of transportation for bacteria (hello, E. coli) to travel from back to front, which can lead to urinary or vaginal infections.
So you wear all-cotton-everything, get your sweat-sesh in, pick up a PB-and-kale smoothie, and go straight home to hit the shower. Nothing like freshening up post-workout right? Right. Next time, be sure to show your vagina a little extra love (and avoid infection-slash-irritation) by following these three easy steps.
- Change ASAP after exercising: pack clean, dry clothes in your gym-bag to change into afterward.
- If you can, shower right after your workout and use warm water and gentle, fragrance-free soap (like our pH balancing cleanser) to wash the vulva. In a hurry? Keep on-the-go vaginal wipes handy in your gym bag.
- If you’re prone to infections, try using a fragrance-free hypoallergenic detergent to wash your workout clothes. (Psst we also like to keep boric acid suppositories in our arsenal of feminine products to balance out odor-causing bacteria.)
So there you have it, our in-depth guide to staying V fresh (pun intended) while you do the work—good for you, lady.
Dr. Jodie Horton