I’ve had two cases of BV and countless UTIs in the past couple years, and as a result, I fret a lot about my vagina these days. There’s nothing actively hazardous about it; it just seems to be prone to problems. In a way, it reminds me of a child who’s particularly nerdy and sensitive, who makes you want to protect him from the bullies at school. Except in this case, the “bullies” are infections.
Because I love you, dear reader, and I care about your vaginal health (or that of the female-bodied folks in your life), here are some items that make my vagina’s life a whole lot easier.
DivaWash. Manufactured by the same people who make the DivaCup, DivaWash is a pH-balanced, all-natural, super gentle cleanser. It’s meant for “face, body, and the DivaCup,” but since one of those things is designed to go inside my vag, I figured the wash itself is vulva-safe. And it is. I’ve been using it as my exclusive vulva-cleansing product for years now (except for this one time when I was on vacation and had to use regular soap, which resulted in a scorching case of BV). It’s soooo gentle and has only the tiniest hint of natural fragrance, so it’s not irritating or drying at all. Of course, the best way to clean a vulva is with plain water, but if you like a leeeetle bit more oomph, DivaWash is the way to go.
D-Mannose. I used to get a urinary tract infection about once a month, seemingly brought on by sex. For those of you who have never had a UTI, trust, it’s miserable. And it can spread to your bladder and then to your kidneys (yes, this happened to me – it’s not fun, don’t do it!). Then someone told me about D-Mannose. It’s a tasteless, odourless powder which you stir into a glass of water and drink up. It makes the insides of your bladder and urinary tract all slippery so the bacteria can’t hang on. Every time I feel a UTI-like twinge of pain, I have some D-Mannose, and the discomfort melts away within hours. It’s a miracle product!
Menstrual cups. Obvi. But please be aware that there are options other than the ones you’ve probably heard of (DivaCup, SoftCups, and maybe the Keeper). I spent a lot of time in the LiveJournal community for cup users when my DivaCup started to fail me, and I found out that not everyone can or should use the same kind of cup. Vaginas come in many different shapes and sizes and the cup selection reflects that! After much experimentation, my cup of choice these days is a large Yuuki. It’s big and firm, never leaks, never feels uncomfortable to me, and basically I want to marry it. What’s your goldilocks cup?
Extra virgin coconut oil. This stuff is flawless. You can use it on your face, hair, body, and – yes! – your vulva. I like it as a lube for my glass and steel toys, and it also works wonderfully as a post-shave moisturizer. (Even better if you can convince your lover to massage it into your skin!)
Plain yogurt. Some people put it in their vagina. I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to do that yet. But, if you’re ever on antibiotics for anything, and you’re even slightly prone to yeast infections, you should get on a daily regimen of eating plain yogurt with active bacterial cultures in it, at least for the duration of your treatment. It’ll keep your vag full of happy bacteria that fights off the bad guys and prevents the Cottage Cheese Discharge of Doom. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I wish you the best of vaginal health, always. ♥