As humans, many different microbiomes call our bodies home. We know all about the gut and skin microbiomes, taking care to balance and maintain them for optimum digestion and radiant skin. But we often forget about the vaginal microbiome, which plays an integral part in keeping the vaginal area happy and healthy.
As Beatrice Thorne from Eve explains, a microbiome is essentially a community of microbes living together in a particular habitat. The vaginal microbiome affects our ability to fight off infections like candida, thrush, bacterial vaginosis, the risk of contracting an STI, and the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. We talk to Thorne to find out more.
When is our vaginal microbiome likely to be under threat?
It’s important to nurture the balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the vaginal microbiome. By doing so, we can discourage bad bacteria, including yeasts like candida, and microbes associated with infections, for example, bacterial vaginosis.
These bacterias thrive in hot, damp, and dark environments, which is why they love summer! Think wearing wet togs on a hot beach or sweating during an exercise session while wearing synthetic activewear.
Yeasts also love to feast on sugar. If you’re prone to thrush and you have a sweet tooth, you may find that you benefit from cutting down your sugar intake.
Lastly, pregnancy is a time of transformation for the vaginal microbiome, and expectant mothers may notice more infections and itches.
What are your top tips for maintaining a healthy vaginal microbiome?
My first piece of advice is to pee after sex! Secondly, avoid lounging around in your wet togs or sweaty underwear. We’ve all been there, but it’s essential to jump into the shower straight after exercise to freshen up. Thirdly, probiotics are a fantastic way to support a balanced vaginal microbiome and are also recommended to be taken during pregnancy.
Tell us more about probiotics. How do they help the vaginal microbiome?
Probiotics are live bacteria, and specific probiotics can perform particular functions to support a microbiome.
Studies show that the probiotic strains included in Eve’s Queen V probiotic work to balance the vaginal microbiome. You may find Queen V helps soothe and prevent vaginal itches and yeast infections, encourages regular bowel movements, aids with bloating, and assists with regularising your period. Queen V can also be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, helping to support a healthy immune system for both mother and baby.
Ultimately, vaginal care should be easy and discussed more openly. Eve strives to do just this.
Now that you’ve heard the 411 on the vaginal microbiome, read Fashion Quarterly’s Q&A with Thorne where we discuss all things PMS and hormonal imbalances.