Oh, So THAT’S Why You Shouldn’t Use Vaginal Cleaning Products
Steer clear of the vaginal cleaning products. Why? Well, there’s some wild stuff happening in your vagina. Meet the tiny wellness-regulating bacterial communities – microbiomes – that are waging war against bad bugs to defend your health. And how to protect them so they can protect you…
The vag is home to bacterial gatekeepers that ward off pests, like Gardnerella vaginalis, which can cause bacterial vaginosis (BV), an infection that makes you more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, says Dr Bernard Moncla, a research associate professor of obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive sciences.
The microbe mix in your vagina may even travel: women with infertility are more likely to have the bacteria responsible for BV in their cervix, compared with those without fertility issues, suggests one small study.
Stay in balance
Skip douches and vaginal cleaning products. They can upend bacterial equilibrium. Sex can throw it out of whack too, but we’re not going to tell you to give that up. Just practise it safely and if you’re not in a monogamous relationship, get tested for STIs regularly.
Consider a probiotic. Daily capsules containing Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus have been shown to maintain vaginal health by helping prevent yeast infections and BV.
If you feel itchy, or smell a fishy or unusual odour, call your gynae. BV is often mistaken for a yeast infection, so describe your symptoms in detail. If you do have BV, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics.
His other microbiome
We aren’t the only ones hosting micro-organisms downstairs. Men’s testes contain bacteria that could affect fertility, suggests preliminary research. Compared with fertile men, infertile dudes have a less diverse mix of bugs in their balls.
Ageing and inflammation could be culprits, but more research is needed to determine what’s shifting the testicular microbiome in infertile men – and what to do about it.