My vagina has an ecosystem?
Yes! Just like in your digestive system, there is a bacterial flora that is unique to your vaginal mucosa. The microflora plays a role in maintaining an optimal pH (acidity) that helps prevent pathogenic bacteria or yeast from rooting in.
I want to highlight some key factors that you can modify to optimize the health of your vaginal microflora.
There are a couple of key factors that are going to influence the vaginal microflora – hormones, diet and hygiene.
Hormones – Did you know that Estrogen helps keep your vagina at an optimal pH? If your hormones are out of whack (ie – low estrogen), your vaginal pH will change, (becoming more alkaline) potentially allowing an opportunistic vaginal infection to take root.
Diet – similarly to the gastrointestinal microflora, what you’re eating is going to influence what species thrive in that environment. Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates/processed foods are more likely to feed candida – the more you feed it sugar, the more it will thrive potentially resulting in a full on yeast infection.
Hygiene – your vagina is meant to have an ecosystem! When your hormones are thriving contributing to a balanced pH, allowing all those good bacteria to survive and thrive and protect your body from infection and boost immune function, the last thing you want to do is come in there with a chemical storm and disrupt the beautiful harmony your body has created. Yes – keep it clean, but be mindful of the products you use – avoid products full of chemicals and artificial smells – if you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t be putting it on your body.
By keeping you hormones healthy and happy, supporting your diet with vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and proteins as well as being mindful around personal hygiene can set you up to have a healthy vaginal microflora!