I know we are all secretly relieved that all of our non-urgent medical visits have been indefinitely postponed. I know you did a little dance when your dentist called to inform you that, sadly, your teeth cleaning for April would have to be canceled due to COVID-19. It’s not like anybody looks forward to any of it. Having someone scrape away at your teeth. Or standing naked on a scale for a nurse at the doctor’s office. Or getting lectured about how much alcohol you drink each week or how much red meat you consume. We all did a little “Woohoo!” when we discovered that we wouldn’t need to go in for routine checkups for now.
Don’t get too excited, though. If you don’t take good enough care of yourself in the interim, then when you do finally go in for that next physical or cleaning, you could get some bad news. Just because you don’t need to report your habits to a doctor for some time doesn’t mean that you get to become lax about your health habits. You’ll have to pay the price, one way or another, and the price could be bigger if you don’t take care of yourself during this time.
This is especially true for your vagina. Your gynecologist may have canceled your pap smear or Well Woman’s Exam this year, but you still need to take care of yourself down there. In fact, it’s especially important to do so since seeing a doctor or getting a prescription, should something go wrong with your lady parts, can be harder than ever. Here are ways to take care of your vagina while your gynecologist is closed.
Don’t switch birth control now
This is not an ideal time to switch birth control, especially if you want to change to one that can increase estrogen levels in the body, as these can cause yeast infections. If you’re not happy with your current birth control, then it’s best to just move to condoms for now. At the very least, talk to your doctor about how different types of birth control may affect you down there.
Use your hand shower
Keeping things nice and clean down there is a great way to prevent infections. Though you should always do this, it’s especially important now if you have a hand shower to use it. Get down there and get in the nooks and crannies so you can really rinse out any bacteria.
Easy on the sugar
Too much sugar in your diet can increase your chances of a yeast infection. I know that many of us are currently comforting ourselves with treats like cookies and candy and ice cream, but your vagina will not thank you for that later.
Clean new underwear
If you purchase new underwear during this time, it’s very important to clean it before wearing it. If you’re like me, and realized you wish you had more granny panties and fewer thongs while you’re living in sweat pants, you may have ordered some new underwear online. Put it through the laundry before putting it on.
Easy on the thongs
Speaking of thongs, why even wear them right now? It’s not like you’re out and about in tight-fitting clothing that reveals underwear lines. Thongs can shift, dragging bacteria from your back to your front, which can increase the chances of infection. So wear full-butted panties now.
Change your underwear daily
This one may sound obvious, however, I know many of us aren’t showering every single day during quarantine. With little incentive to look our best, many of us are skipping a lot of personal care habits, and daily showering can be one of those. For that reason, you may accidentally keep the same underwear on for 48 hours, but don’t do that. Change these daily.
Don’t get creative with lube
If you typically rely on lubricant to enjoy sex with your partner, but find that it’s hard to access your preferred lube right now, you may try to get experimental. You may order some new, cheap lubricant, or even turn to household products. But that is a recipe for disaster. Try to use the same lube you usually do, or do your research and get one that’s nearly identical.
But, use lube
And do use lube if you need it. Don’t force sex to happen if you aren’t naturally lubricated enough, all because you can’t get ahold of your favorite lube right now. That can cause small tears in your vagina that can be quite painful, and increase the chances of infection.
Stick to cotton undies
Even if you’re trying to save money because you lost your job or took a salary cut during the quarantine, your underwear should be one thing you don’t skimp on. Don’t buy big, cheap packs of synthetic underwear all because they’re affordable. Stick to cotton underwear.
Only use antibiotics if necessary
Because many of us are worried about getting the virus, we may take any means we find necessary to fight it. Even though antibiotics haven’t been shown to kill the coronavirus, you may be tempted to call your doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics if you sense anything is wrong. But taking antibiotics kills the good bacteria in your vagina and increases the chances of infection.
Call your gyno if you smell something
If you smell anything out of the ordinary in your vagina, call your gynecologist. Even though gynecologists are canceling routine procedures and checkups right now, if you think you have an infection, your doctor may see you in person or at least have a Zoom appointment to assess the problem.
Call your gyno if it burns/itches
If your vagina itches or burns, call your gynecologist. Do not attempt to treat these symptoms at home. It’s very likely your gynecologist will need to prescribe something, if these symptoms arise.
Don’t try new hair removal products
Maybe you don’t have it in you to shave your vagina every day right now. Or, maybe the salon where you get your Brazilians or sugaring is closed. But you want to stay hairless down there, so you poke around online and find some hair removal products. Don’t do it. You may pay for it dearly via an allergic reaction.
Change your pad/tampons regularly
We’re all in a mindset of conservation. We don’t want to use more toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or essential feminine products than necessary. But that is no excuse for leaving a tampon or pad in too long. That can cause infection, and it’s not worth it. Change these regularly.
Examine it yourself
Put a mirror down there and take a look yourself. It’s good for you to know what your vagina looks like when it’s healthy. That way, you can also know when it looks abnormal, and report that to your gynecologist.