There’s no doubt that not only have we been talking more about self care in recent years (according to Google Trends, the number of searches for “self-care” has more than doubled since 2015), but the need for good self care is more important than ever. We’ve all been facing a lot of new challenges over the past two years — the pandemic introduced social distancing, kept kids out of school, exacerbated financial hardship, and, of course, took a big toll on our mental and physical health. With all of these challenges it can be easy to put your own health and wellbeing on the backburner, and this is especially true when it comes to concerns that are easy to ignore or push through, like those related to vaginal health. But keeping your whole body healthy is key to not only surviving, but thriving during difficult times! Let’s get into how you can show your body (and your vagina) a little extra care by following a few simple guidelines.
What is self care?
We already know a lot of people are asking Google about self care — they’ve taken the first step towards prioritizing their health! Self care means doing the small things you need to do for yourself every day so that you can be healthy, well, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish. Ignoring self care can lead to burnout, where you hit your limit mentally and physically and can no longer take care of your daily responsibilities. The best way to avoid burnout? Listen to your body and prioritize your health.
Self care routine, routine, routine
Setting yourself up for success means developing good habits. Every little bit matters and even small changes can have a big impact! Aim to go to bed at the same time every night or finish a big water bottle every day. Start small and build your self care tasks into your routine until you don’t even have to think about them. Remember: consistency is key. If you mess up, just start again tomorrow!
Vaginal self care
Self care for women and others with vaginas often means taking care of annoying symptoms right when they appear. The fact is, women provide the majority of informal care to partners, family, friends, and neighbors, and they often play multiple roles — hands-on nurse, care manager, companion, surrogate decision-maker and advocate. That’s a lot of responsibility and it leads many women and caregivers to neglect their own health. Stress can weaken your immune system and lead to recurrent vaginal symptoms and infections like BV, yeast infections, and UTIs.
Can vaginal infections resolve on their own?
It’s possible, but it’s often not worth waiting. If BV or a yeast infection does go away on its own, it typically takes at least 2 weeks, during which time you’ll be suffering from uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms. You may spend that time waiting, and your infection doesn’t get better! Similarly, a UTI can resolve on its own, but it could also travel into your kidneys which is very dangerous and would result in a visit to the ER. Getting prescription treatment will clear up your symptoms in 2-3 days and you can feel confident that you’re taken care of.
The best self care tips
So what can you do to stay up and at ‘em? Prevent problems before they happen and treat any issues as soon as they pop up! There are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to help your vagina stay healthy and happy.
- Drink lots of water to help flush out your urinary tract frequently
- Wipe front to back — fecal bacteria can cause UTIs, so wiping front to back after you pee to keep any bacteria from getting into your urethra
- Avoid douching which can cause a bacterial imbalance
- Make sure your underwear and pants aren't too tight — cotton underwear is always a good option to keep it "unrestricted" down there
- Use water or a gentle wash for sensitive skin (like Wisp’s Balancing Wash) to clean the vulva
- Take showers after you sweat
- Wash your underwear with unscented detergent
- Change your underwear each day
- Urinate after sex
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The best preventative self care products
Incorporating vaginal care into your regular routine can help maintain vaginal health. Here are our favorite products for staying balanced and keeping infections at bay.
- If you're prone to vaginal infections, incorporating Balancing Wash into your routine may help maintain your vaginal health. No SLS, silicones, or harsh exfoliants. Just the good stuff to keep you clean and healthy. Its mild lavender scent is all-natural and turns every shower into an opportunity to relax and smell the flowers (so it’s a great way to de-stress too!).
- Boric Acid has been used for over 100 years to treat vaginal symptoms and prevent infections! Using natural boric acid suppositories and prescription Yeast Infection Treatment or BV antibiotics together can help break a cycle of chronic vaginal infections. Boric acid suppositories promote vaginal acidity, which helps to keep the natural balance in your vaginal area.
- Did you know 1 in 5 women deal with recurrent UTIs? If you’re one of the unlucky ones, you have to know about D-Mannose. This natural preventative has been shown to help prevent UTIs and reduce UTI symptoms, even measuring up to results with antibiotics! While the research is ongoing, D-Mannose has certainly be shown to be safe to take and is worth a try if you’re someone who always finds themselves with that “gotta go” feeling.
The best self care treatment
Sometimes we can do everything right and infections still manage to strike. Treating with prescription meds at the first sign of symptoms will help you recover quickly and avoid long term health complications!
- Fluconazole for Yeast Infections: Fluconazole is a prescription-strength antifungal that is preferred by doctors because you often only need one pill to cure a yeast infection! It treats your yeast infection from the inside out by limiting the yeast’s ability to multiply and killing existing yeast cells. No muss, no fuss.
- Antibiotics for BV: To treat acute or chronic BV, (i.e. an active infection that is not lessening in response to lifestyle changes), a medical professional will prescribe you an oral or vaginal antibiotic, such as clindamycin, metronidazole, or tinidazole. These FDA-approved antibiotics are the most trusted acute treatment for reducing the number of BV-causing bacteria. You’ll feel better in just a couple days!
- Antibiotics for UTI: UTIs are usually very easy to treat. Most doctors prescribe a round of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Although the length of the antibiotic course will depend on the severity of your symptoms, most people experience relief from the discomfort in a day or two. UTIs are super common, so there's no need to feel embarrassed about seeking treatment.
A little bit of self care can go a long way. Staying healthy throughout the year means listening to your body and taking action right when you need to. Make self care habits part of your routine to maintain whole body health and nip infections in the bud when symptoms pop up! Remember: you can always get treatment from Wisp delivered to your door (that means more “you” time).