According to a women’s health expert, we should all be focusing on something much more important than roses, date nights and s3xy underwear this year.
Stephanie Taylor, managing director of Kegel8, is trying to get women looking after their own intimate areas.
She says: “Every woman dreams of being treated like a goddess on Valentine’s Day. Yet, many of us are guilty of not looking after number one…our vaginas.
“The happiness and health of your intimate body parts should be high up on your list of priorities all year around, just like looking after your skin, hair and nails.”
To help woman look after their vaginas, Stephanie has shared a list of 8 tips she claims every woman should follow.
1. Save, don’t shave
“While some women may feel cleaner, more comfortable or even sexier when they shave, pubic hair does serve a purpose.
“It protects from bacteria and infections such as Folliculitis, absorbs sweat and acts as a buffer against friction.”
A recent survey found 84 per cent of woman shave down there, and 50 per cent getting rid of everything – so this is something lots of people need to focus on.
2. Stay balanced
“You might not know it, but vaginas are actually self-cleaning thanks to good bacteria known as Lactobacilli.
“Using perfumed shower gels, bubble baths, moisturisers and wipes can upset your carefully balanced pH levels, potentially leaving you with uncomfortable thrush or bacterial vaginosis.
“So, next time you’re in the supermarket, opt for a perfume-free or sensitive products.”
3. Brief encounters
Stephanie’s next tip involved that cheeky underwear set you’ve bought for your other half…
“Sexy underwear and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand but the last thing you want is your fun ruined by a Urinary Tract Infection.
“When it comes to pelvic health, some underwear is better for you than others.
“Typically, thongs are tight-fitting and sit close to the skin, moving back and forth throughout the day which can contribute to a UTI.
“No matter what underwear you prefer, always opt for cotton, which is the most breathable fabric, helping to keep moisture at bay.”
4. Hello hydration
We all know drinking lots of water is important, but did you know it’s vital for a healthy vagina?
Stephanie explains: “Hitting the daily recommended H2O level can be a struggle, but if the promise of glowing skin and more energy doesn’t incentivise you, maybe your v-gina might.
“If you’re dehydrated, the drier you’ll be down there, which could lead to issues like an infection, itching or burning.
“Depending on how active you are, you should aim to drink between two and three litres of water a day.
“If the thought of tap water bores you, jazz it up with citrus fruits, cucumber and mint.”
5. The Golden Rule
Stephanie has one ‘Golden Rule’ when it comes to keeping things happy down there.
She says: “While there are many s-x myths, you should believe this one…peeing after s-x.
“That’s because clearing your bladder instantly flushes out any bacteria in your v-gina and urinary tract, cutting your risk of getting a UTI.
“You may not feel the sensation to go immediately after, but don’t worry, as long as it’s done within a reasonable amount of time you can relax.”
6. Change after the gym
According to Stephanie, staying in your gym clothes after your work out is a “sin”.
She says: “The thought of brunch after a sweaty workout might be a great motivator but staying in your gym clothes for too long is a sin.
“Sweaty clothes and underwear create the perfect breeding ground for bad bacteria, particularly if they’re tight and made from latex or polyester.
“So, have a quick shower and put on fresh clothes before you get on with the rest of your day.”
7. Work your pelvic floor
“Pelvic floor weakness is often thought of as an ‘old woman problem’ but the truth is it can affect any woman at any point in her life.
“If you ignore your pelvic floor, you could end up with bladder incontinence, prolapse or a loss of sensation during s-x.
“Pelvic floor exercises should be part of your daily routine and if you need an extra helping hand, try a pelvic toner which uses electrical impulses to stimulate those all-important muscles.”
8. Get to know your flow
Stephanie’s final tip is an important one, and it’s all about your periods.
She says: “Periods aren’t always predictable. If you often find yourself caught short or waiting and waiting, download a fertility tracking app to help you keep tabs on your cycle.
“When your flow does start it’ll be at its heaviest for the first day or two.
Make sure to change your pad frequently (at least every 4 hours) and opt for a thicker night-time towel.