Cool for the Summer: Keeping BV, Thrush and Cystitis at Bay
Strawberry season. Picnics in the park. Finally being able to wear those sandals you bought optimistically in May. Summer just hits the spot - and the last thing you want is some pesky thrush to ruin your carefully curated plans.
We caught up with HANX co-founder and gynaecology Dr Sarah Welsh to help understand how best to protect your delicate area down there to stop it from overheating and reduce the risk of developing intimate issues.
What is thrush?
Thrush is a fungal yeast infection which causes itching and burning of the vulva, thick, white cottage cheese-like discharge, plus pain when you pee/during sex.
Why do I get thrush in hot weather?
Thrush likes nothing better than moist, dark environments. FYI, fungus and bacteria live pretty harmoniously in the vagina, but when the fungus Candida increases, it can cause thrush. Factor in heat and humidity in summer and you’ve got the perfect breeding round…
What’s the best underwear to avoid thrush?
Embrace your inner utilitarian and choose undyed, natural fibres like cotton or bamboo. They might be less sexy than your little black knickers, but added dyes can irritate the vulva and vagina.
Suffering from thrush? Browse our thrush treatment options here.
Why do I get cystitis when I’ve been drinking alcohol?
Booze doesn’t directly cause UTIs, but it can raise the risk and exacerbate symptoms. If you’re enjoying sun-soaked alcohol and sugary cocktails, it’s easy to forget to chug water along the way, and dehydration can exacerbate bladder irritation. It’s also easier to forget the cardinal (or carnal?) rules of avoiding cystitis: use a condom when having penetrative sex, and pee as soon as possible afterwards. It’s pretty common to get a bout of post-romp cystitis, as the penis/toys can irritate the back wall of the bladder when it pushes against the front wall of the vagina. This pushes bacteria into the bladder, which can be the start of a urinary tract infection. Not fun!
I’ve been wearing shorts and now have smelly discharge. Help!
Be it a workout uniform or gust-proofing under a summer dress, tight shorts create a moist, sweaty environment where Bacterial Vaginosis thrives, especially in tropical-ish months. It’s often confused for a yeast infection, but if you notice a distinctive ‘fishy’ smell, greyish, watery discharge or irritation, it’s likely to be BV. At-home treatments are very effective, so don’t panic! Note: if you’re pregnant, visit your GP for advice about treatment.
I’m waxed and ready to relax… but have sore bumps along my bikini line.
Ouch! There’s no pain like an ingrown hair, especially on or near the labia or vulva. Use a warm compress to draw out any that are particularly sore, and avoid swear off tight-fitting clothing for a while. Avoid temptation: don’t scratch or pick them as this can cause infections and scarring.
Why does my period feel way worse in summer?
Heatwaves might not affect your actual period, but it can ramp up elements that go hand-in-hand that you really don’t want to deal with: acne, headaches and PMS. Make sure to stay hydrated as you naturally lose more water via sweating which can make you feel tired. Your body naturally uses more energy at this time, so keeping those fluids up is important. Bonus: despite popular belief, there’s no evidence that caffeine dehydrates you, so you don’t have to ditch the iced oat lattes…
Holiday Top Tip:
Heading abroad? No one wants a time-pressured trip to the pharmacy/sexual health centre, especially if you don’t speak the local language. If there’s a chance you might be getting it on and you like to be prepared, be aware the morning after pill has a shelf life of up to 3 years. You can keep it with you in your luggage for just-in-case peace of mind and carry on exploring.
Getting hot and bothered? Explore our full range of same-day-dispatch, discreetly delivered intimate care treatments here.