2020 may have given us all a much-needed reminder to slow down and look after ourselves, from baking our own banana bread to reconnecting with old friends (virtually, of course), but have you considered the health of the body part we’ve all been taught to keep hidden – your vulva?
The vulva (the global term that describes all parts of female genitalia, from the labia to the clitoris and vagina) is a delicate organ made of skin, membrane and its own microbiome. Like the gut, the flora and fauna of the vulva must be kept in balance, or you could experience anything from minor irritation to thrush and other infections. But unlike the school teachers of early childhood, at &SISTERS HQ, we believe the vulva is something that should be talked about – the better you understand your body, the healthier and happier you will be.
To help you look after the sensitive tissues of your vulva, we’ve scoured all resources available to us to give you the lowdown on down below. Try adding these five simple rituals to your self-care routine:
1. Soak in a bath
At &SISTERS HQ, we believe baths are magical – not only have they been shown to boost mood and improve overall mental health, but they’re great for the health of your vulva, too. While showers can also keep the vulva clean, soaking in a bath can gently remove excess oil and sweat while soothing the tissue of the labia and vagina. Just be sure to go easy on the bubbles, as sitting in soapy water may disrupt your vulva’s microbiome and cause irritation.
2. Slip into a pair of organic cotton pants
The next time you get a text asking ‘what are you wearing right now?’, we hope you’ll answer, ‘a pair of organic cotton pants!’ – while thongs and lacy pants can certainly make you feel sexy, you may notice irritation or symptoms of thrush immediately after wearing them. The vulva needs to be kept dry, but shiny and synthetic fabrics (often used in your favourite Victoria’s Secret pants) fail to absorb sweat and vaginal discharge. This creates a warm, wet environment that causes yeast in the vagina to flourish, leading to infections and discomfort.
While we can’t deny that a lace thong may look sexy, at &SISTERS HQ, we believe organic cotton is always the way to go. Organic cotton is chemical-free and naturally absorbent, maintaining the pH balance and health of your vagina (and what’s sexier than that?).
3. Ditch perfumed soaps, lubes and wipes.
We love a trip to Lush just as much as the next person, but we know that perfumed soaps, lubes and wipes can cause serious irritation if they come into contact with skin and tissue of the vulva. Perfumed soaps can be used on other areas of the body but most gynaecologists recommend sticking to water when cleaning the vulva. If you do decide to use a soap, be sure to choose something that’s super gentle or has been specially formulated for use on the vulva.
4. Chow down on gut-friendly foods.
Over the past 10 years, doctors have begun to discover just how important our gut bacteria is in maintaining our overall health. A healthy gut leads to healthier skin, healthier digestion and – you guessed it – a healthier vulva. The microorganisms living the gut can help determine the balance of microorganisms in and around the vagina, so it’s important to keep this in check with a daily probiotic and other gut-friendly foods. Chat with your chemist to choose a probiotic that suits you, and chow down on gut-friendly foods like kefir, yogurt, kimchi and kombucha. If you’re looking for a good-for-you lockdown activity, try making you own sourdough bread – it’s mindful, it’s full of healthy microorganisms and it tastes incredible!
5. Switch to our 100% organic cotton period products.
We designed all &SISTERS period products with the sensitive skin and sensitive vulvas in mind. You won’t find anything irritating or synthetic in any of our products – in fact, our pads, tampons and liners are made from 100% Soil Association organic cotton, and our nüdie period cup is made using hypoallergenic medical-grade silicone.
- 100% organic cotton pads, tampons and liners. Unlike supermarket pads, tampons and liners that contain chemicals, chlorine bleach and synthetic fibres, our 100% organic cotton period products are gentle on the delicate tissues of your vulva. Organic cotton is breathable yet absorbent, maintaining vaginal pH and keeping you dry and every stage of your period.
- Nüdie period cup. If you’re someone who experiences thrush after nearly every period, you may wish to give the nüdie a try. As it uses hypoallergenic, medical-grade silicone, it’s the perfect choice for ultra-sensitive ladies.
Learn more about how the nüdie can help you.
- Personalise your period. What better way to incorporate organic cotton period products into your period care routine, than to have a subscription to help you stay on track? Our personalise your period (PYP) packs can be tailored to suit you and your lifestyle – choose everything from what goes inside your box, to how often it’s delivered, and cancel anytime you like. What have you got to lose?
Begin your journey to better menstrual health by making it personal now.