One of the things I love most about New York in the Spring is rolling carefree around town in my sundress and strappy sandals, hopping on and off my ride to meet friends and run errands.
As easy, breezy as this sounds, your vaginal health is no joke. A variety of factors can lead our lady parts to become the ideal playground for yeast infections and other infections so if you’re like me, you need a vag strategy when you venture out on two wheels. Here are four tips to staying fresh and sprightly during those sweaty days:
- Wear breathable undies. Synthetic underwear, all thongs, including cotton ones, and bathing suits trap moisture creating a ripe environment for fungus (Candida) or bad bacteria to grow. Full cotton or moisture-wicking material that let in air are a better bet. And especially if you’ll be out for a while, carry an extra pair with you to change into once you’ve arrived at your destination and rinsed off. (See #4 below.)
- Shave or wax your bikini line the day before you get on your seat. Removing hair in the lower regions often creates skin inflammation or cuts that can be breeding grounds for infections or can become further irritated by your cycling. Wait at least a day between hair removal and hopping on your ride.
- Limit or cut out your sugar intake, especially if you’re going from bike to bikini and back. Candida, the source of yeast infections, and bad bacteria feed on carbohydrates (including alcohol) so the more you consume, the more they consume which can lead to overgrowths and thus infections. If those BBQ cocktails are just too much to resist, at least replace the sugary mojito or yeast-filled beer with a vodka or gin and seltzer. Vodka and gin have fewer sugars than sweet mixed drinks or beer. (And then of course make sure you’re sober by the time you get back on your bike.)
- Wash with water. Gynecologists and women’s health practitioners the world over agree that it is best just to wash with water. Soap can disrupt your natural flora which is designed to fight off infections. This makes staying clean even easier when bike riding. Carry a little empty squeeze bottle with you that you fill in the bathroom or just use your water bottle to quickly give yourself a rinse while sitting on the toilet. Just make sure to grab a few paper towels or carry a handkerchief with you so you can dry off.
If all else fails, and you fall prey to an infection, check out this updated blog, “Curing That Not-So-Fresh Feeling,” with natural remedies for returning your hoo-hah to its healthy, beautiful state.
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