Winter is coming and with it a chilling warning.
It turns out “winter vagina” could be a thing, according to one expert.
We all know as the temperature drops and the heating gets switched on that it can play havoc with your skin.
Dry skin and chapped lips become more of a problem, leaving us reaching for the hand cream and lip balm.
But could that “drought” affect all parts of the body, including — yep, you guessed it — your private parts?
Mary Burke, a former National Health Service midwife in the UK and senior clinical nurse at the London Bridge Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Clinic, told the Sun that women may well suffer more with vaginal dryness during the winter months.
“Dry autumn and winter air depletes moisture from our bodies, leaving our skin dehydrated and cracked, and our sinuses parched,” she said.
“And while it’s an issue few will want to discuss openly, our vaginas can enter ‘drought mode’ during this time, too.
“When we spend a lot of time in air-conditioned rooms, or with the heating on, we’re living in air which carries very little moisture. And the dryness we experience can often extend to every inch of our bodies — including our most private regions.”
But other experts disagree. Dr. Jen Gunter has denied ideas that weather changes can affect a lady’s private parts — debunking the idea that “summer vaginas” are a thing.
She said vaginal dryness has nothing to do with the temperature outside, rather it’s caused by low estrogen levels, some medications and thrush.
“Vaginas function quite well in all seasons,” Gunter said.
“The vagina maintains a steady temperature because it is inside your body and human body temperature only rises with the outside temperature when someone is suffering from heat stroke.”
Debate aside, vaginal dryness is a seriously debilitating condition that can affect women of all ages.
It can be embarrassing, and it can make sex unbearably painful.
- discomfort, irritating or a burning sensation
- discomfort during sex
- going off sex
- difficulty getting aroused and reaching orgasm
- the surface of your vagina looking pale and thin
- narrowing or shortening of the vagina
- needing to urinate more than usual
- repeated urinary tract infections
While it’s a very common problem, it’s most likely to affect women who are going through or have already experienced menopause.
Other factors including certain medications, diabetes, breastfeeding or childbirth can also increase a woman’s likelihood of experiencing vaginal dryness.
And in some cases, low levels of the female sex hormone estrogen can be the cause.
The NHS recommends using a lubricant or vaginal moisturizer to try to ease symptoms, and treatments like vaginal estrogen and hormone replacement therapy can help.
But Burke says it’s possible to help lower your risk of vaginal dryness by making a few key changes to your lifestyle — including your diet.
Here she shares her nine top tips:
1. An apple (juice) a day
Vaginal dryness can be a result of a hormone imbalance.
But you get this imbalance back on an even footing by adding lots of food that contains phytoestrogens into your diet.
Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic the action of synthetic estrogen.
Phytoestrogen-rich foods include apple juice, cherries, flax seeds, and other oil seeds.
2. Eat your greens
Leafy greens have long been considered good at bolstering overall health, thanks to the many nutrients and dietary nitrates they contain.
They’re also good at preventing vaginal dryness and increasing blood circulation.
The greens are also rich in vitamin E, calcium and magnesium, which helps to promote muscle health, including your intimate muscles.
3. Right pair of melons
A balanced vaginal pH needs to stay in the range of 3.8 to 4.5.
If it goes outside this level, you might experience some discomfort.
And watermelon is great for pH harmony.
The fruit contains citrulline, which triggers the relaxing of the body’s blood vessels in order to promote good circulation and blood flow.
4. Bunch of coconuts
This is considered a bit of a “fad” drink by some, but many experts think it’s great for cleansing the toxins from your body and can also help to fight against infections in the vagina.
Coconut water contains lauric acid, which can ward off harmful bacteria.
5. The sweet spot
Beta carotene is a pigment found in orange fruits and vegetables, like carrots and sweet potatoes.
Beta carotene — which is turned into vitamin A in the body — has long been linked with fertility, as it helps to support strength in the uterine walls.
Getting enough beta carotene in your diet should boost overall vaginal health, too.
6. Stress less
When women get stressed, their heightened state can cause what’s known as a “mini menopause,” even if a woman isn’t at that stage in life.
That’s because levels of estrogen can dip, which in turn causes the skin to dry out.
One way to combat this could be to increase your vitamin C intake.
7. It’s getting humid in here
The air is able to hold less and less water as it becomes hotter.
And this means that as soon as you turn your heating on, the moisture in the air in your home also decreases.
This can lead to a drying out of your skin — including your downstairs area.
A good way to increase the moisture is to get a humidifier. A low-cost alternative to a humidifier is simply to leave a bowl of water on the radiator, allowing moisture to evaporate into the air.
8. Like to move it, move it
Doing any sort of physical activity is a great way to boost your mood and to de-stress.
And it’s also proven to aid blood circulation.
Making sure your heart is in good health increases blood flow to the vagina and often improves vaginal health and sexual function.
9. Ban the bubbles
They’re a nice indulgence, but fragrant soaps and bubble baths can be irritating to sensitive tissue.
Again, it’s down to the fact that these lotions actually affect the natural pH of the vagina.