Let's talk about vaginas
What do you actually know about the health of your vagina? Unfortunately, female anatomy and health-related questions about the vagina are still taboo subjects. Historically, women have often been neglected in medical research and vaginal health has predominantly been discussed in the context of sexual relationships or reproduction.
What is the microbiome and why is it so important for female health?
The microbiome is the genome of all microorganisms and its theatre activity, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other tiny organisms that live in and on our bodies. These microorganisms play a critical role in our overall health and wellbeing. They interact with our organs, aid digestion, support the immune system, synthesize essential vitamins, and protect us against harmful pathogens. Although all microbiomes in the human body are important, the gut microbiome has been studied most thoroughly and has been recognized for its significant impact on various aspects of health. But what about other microbiomes in our bodies?
Ten secrets about the vaginal microbiome
- Caution with antibiotic use: Antibiotics can disrupt the vaginal microbiome. Protect your vaginal microbiome – and all other microbiomes in your body – by only taking antibiotics when necessary. Antibiotics are metabolized very slowly and eliminate bacteria in the body - including the helpful microorganisms in your microbiome. There are already some alternatives to antibiotics. Learn more about this here.
- Food for the vagina: A well-balanced diet does not only support your overall health, but also your vaginal microbiome. Healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids are found in nuts, seeds, avocado oil, sea fish, microalgae, and virgin olive oil. They are important for metabolic processes, building cell walls, and hormone production. Processed foods like fast food, refined sugar, dyes and preservatives have multiple negative effects on your body and harm the microbiome. In addition, staying hydrated is very important! Drinking fresh, still, untreated water or unsweetened herbal teas is ideal.
- Choose your intimate care products wisely: Did you know that only using water is enough for perfect intimate hygiene? If you want to use intimate care products, be sure to choose mild cleansers that consider the pH of the genital area and avoid disinfectant products that destroy the microbiome. The fewer ingredients, the better! Need help? We collected information about good ingredients for you and have already tested vaginal products for their Microbiome-friendliness for you.
- Be mindful about your body: Become aware of changes in your vagina, for example unusual discharge or odor. If you notice anything, seek medical advice from your gynecologist. Which brings us to the next point!
- Regular check-ups: Regular exams at your gynecologist are important to detect and address problems early on. With regular exams, your doctor can observe changes in the vaginal area that could indicate infection or disease – before symptoms show up.
- Reduce stress: The stress response is a vital bodily function for survival. If stress becomes chronic, however, it is damaging our health. It can throw the gut and vaginal flora out of balance and increase the risk for infections and other diseases. Regular exercise, taking breaks and time for yourself, relaxation and breathing exercises, yoga, adequate sleep, and a supportive environment can help to reduce excess stress.
- Be mindful when wanting to conceive and during pregnancy: Too little Lactobacilli or too many unwanted microbes can impact your fertility. Especially during pregnancy, a balanced microbiome is very important to minimize the risk of complications like premature birth. During vaginal birth, the newborn comes into contact with the mother's microbiome. Supportive measures for births via Cesarean Section include vaginal seeding. With vaginal seeding, the newborn is rubbed with the mother's vaginal secretions to ensure contact with the important maternal vaginal microbiome.
- Safe sex for a healthy vagina: If you have changing sexual partners, contraception with condoms is important to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome. Microorganisms are transmitted by sexual partners. Switching between anal and vaginal intercourse also increases the risk of infection and upsets the vaginal microbiome.
- Wear breathable underwear: Make sure your underwear is made of breathable, Microbiome-friendly materials to prevent sweating and to promote a healthy skin environment.
- Educate yourself: The more you know, the better you can take care of your vaginal microbiome. Not all doctors or manufacturers of personal care product consider the relevance of the microbiome for our health yet. Therefore, it is very important that you take your health into your own hands. We have collected the most important information about our microbiome on our scientific information platform.