Okay, so we know this is a topic not everyone is comfortable with talking about and most females don’t seem to know much on how to maintain a healthy vagina. So, go find somewhere quiet where you can read this post and allow me to enlighten you.
Before I jump into it,let me start by letting you know I have a Bachelors of Science degree in Biotechnology and for my Honours research product I focused on the oral (mouth) and vaginal microbiome of pregnant and non-pregnant females and how it changes with pregnancy. Okay wait, hold up- you’re probably wondering what on earth is a microbiome?- A microbiome is the community of microorganisms which are found in a particular environment, such as the vagina.
Now before you freak out, it is perfectly normal to have a whole bunch of microorganisms in your vaginal area. In fact, there are a large number of specific organisms which you need in your vaginal microbiome in order to maintain a healthy microbiome with the correct pH level, specifically micoroganisms which belong to the Lactobacillus family. Many of the natural habitants of the vaginal microbiome not only assist in maintaining a healthy vaginal environment, they fight off any other unwanted microorganisms which could cause you vaginal problems.
Lactobacillus produces lactic acid which reduces the pH level of your vaginal microbiome and thereby restricting a range of unwanted microorganisms from invading your vaginal microbiome.
In order to ensure you maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome,it is important to ensure you’re cleaning your vaginal area correctly. The mistake most women make is “over washing” the vaginal area with soap. Now although many women do it and don’t always seem to have any issues down there, we tend to think this is okay. However research shows that the ingredients used to produce a wide range of soaps (some, not all) can affect the pH level of the vaginal microbiome. I’m hoping with your last trip to Clicks or Dischem you noticed the wide range of feminine hygiene washes in the female care aisle.
There is now a range of great feminine hygiene washes which are easily available at Clicks, Dischem and many pharmacies. All these washes consists of ingredients which aim to gently clean the vaginal area, whilst maintaining the pH level of your vaginal microbiome.
I first started using Lactacyd (pictured above on the left), which is a yummy smelling feminine hygiene wash containing milk extracts. Lactacyd has been specially formulated to protect the fragile natural balance of the vulvovaginal flora. Contrary to usual body wash soaps, Lactacyd contains natural and mild active ingredients which are extracted from milk. This gives it an acidic pH, which assists in maintaining the vaginal pH balance. The pink bottle is the original bottle,but you may come across a green/blue bottle which is the “Active” version and has a more fruity scent. Once my bottle of Lactacyd was nearly finished, I decided to try the Lilets feminine wash. However, I found that it didn’t work for me and moved back to the Lactacyd, as it’s gentle enough.
Recently I noticed another brand by Nature Fresh called Intimate Cleanser (pictured above on the left). This wash contains tea tree, probiotics and herbal extracts including rooibos, lavender, urtica, calendula, witch hazel and rosemary. It also contains 15 microbial strains (www.saem.co.za) which include lactic acid and phototrophic bacteria as well as beneficial yeasts (do not cause candidiasis). The Nature Fresh Intimate Cleanser has a pH balance of 3.5 to facilitate intimate health and comfort and is suitable for females of all ages. It can be used in the shower or as bubble bath, and is even gentle enough for babies. The wash contains no perfume, alcohol, chemicals or parabens. There is another variation of the wash, which is a purple bottle. The only difference is that it is gently scented with lavender.
Although the Nature Fresh Intimate Cleanser doesn’t have a yummy scent like the Lactacyd wash, it’s my preferred choice of feminine wash and keeps the vaginal area healthy.
We hope all your babygirls have found this post helpful, please feel free to ask us any questions 🙂