Look out for your lady parts
Pitch Perfect 2 hits cinemas soon and much has been made of the opening sequence, where Rebel Wilson's Fat Amy accidentally shows her lady parts to President Barack Obama. It's a hilarious scene and it also gets people talking about that often taboo subject: The Vagina. While we're not advocating doing a Fat Amy, it is time to pay attention to your privates and Mark Curry, founder of intimate care range SASS, shares his expert advice.
Pick the right underwear
Just like any other part of the body, the vagina sweats and can produce odour and discharge. This is completely normal and nothing to be embarrassed about. Prevent discomfort by picking cotton underwear, a breathable fabric that absorbs moisture. You can also use a specially formulated deodorant, but be cautious.
"Never use standard deodorants on your vagina, and always check that the products you use are pH balanced," Mark advised.
The vagina is susceptible to infections such as thrush and BV, which can be caused by factors including a sugary diet, antibiotics and periods.
"The vagina contains lots of good bacteria (lactobacilli) which help to keep the vagina’s pH balance at an even, healthy level," Mark explained. "However, if the balance of bacteria is off-kilter this can result in embarrassing and uncomfortable infections, which can cause symptoms including itching, irritation and abnormal discharge. Using condoms, eating the right diet, and cleansing before and after sex can all help with this."
Make sure your meals include plenty of fruit and vegetables, and pro-biotic yoghurt, which has the good bacteria your vagina needs.
Don't trust trends
Celebrities love a fad and one of the most recent is the vagina steam. It might sound exotic, but it could do far more harm than good.
“The problem with faddy treatments favoured by celebrities such as vaginal steaming is that steam doesn't differentiate between good and bad bacteria present in and around the vagina," he warned. "These good bacteria help to keep the vagina’s pH balance level, and produce bacteriocins (naturally occurring antibiotics) to reduce or kill harmful bacteria entering the vagina.
"Without the presence of enough good bacteria, embarrassing and uncomfortable infections such as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) or thrush can occur."
Similarly, fashion trends can be a problem. Skinny jeans, tights and leggings are all culprits, so stick to breathable and loose fabrics as often as possible.
Be wary of the gym
Especially spinning can be rough on your lady parts, with many gym bunnies experiencing numbness, itching and irritation. Try padded shorts or invest in some barrier cream to keep things protected. And when you head to the shower afterwards, don't get overzealous with the shower gel.
“Your new scented shower gel maybe be gorgeous, but don’t put it anywhere near your genitals. Regular soap can be really irritating to the sensitive skin around your vagina and cause all sorts of problems so stick with a gentle, pH balanced cleanser," Mark advised.