There’s a delicate balance to supporting your vaginal and urinary tract health. The vagina and bladder have flora just like the gut, but because women’s health is often overlooked and underfunded, not enough people know about this complex microbial system.
The urogenital flora maintains a balance of bacteria and yeast, with beneficial bacteria helping to keep the vaginal pH in check which is part of our natural defences. But small changes such as antibiotics, contraceptives, hormones or soaps can throw things out of balance and can lead to bladder and vagina issues. And in summer, you can add warm, moist environments like wet togs to the list of things to watch out for.
Bladder and vagina issues are super common, but because of the stigma that still exists when it comes to discussing women’s health, it can be difficult to find support when you need it. Thankfully there are a few evidence-based tips for keeping things comfortable, as well as scientifically researched supplements that can help support your body’s natural balance. Here, Clinicians naturopath Jane Cronin answers your burning questions so you can enjoy a carefree summer.
What are some of the key issues facing our vaginas and bladders?
One of the issues is that proximity wise, the vagina is very close to the anus and the bladder. So bacteria can move from one area to another. The vagina, like the gut, has its own microbiome. Keeping the bacteria balanced is the important part. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can cause imbalances as well as things like the oral contraceptive, antibiotics and soap (it is not recommended to use soap in this area).
How do we know if there is something wrong ‘down there’?
Signs that could indicate that there’s an imbalance in your vaginal flora could be either a change in discharge, or feeling uncomfortable. Things to look out for with the bladder include frequency and discomfort.
Why are vagina and bladder issues so common in summer?
Most bugs like a moist damp environment. So summer can bring more sweating, and you might be exercising in tight clothing or swimming in the sea, which can lead to perfect bacterial conditions. Try to avoid sitting around in your sweaty gym gear or wet togs after these activities.
What lifestyle changes can we make to support vaginal and urinary tract health?
Gut health is really important, so if you’re having a lot of gut issues and also vaginal difficulties, then there’s often a link. Reducing sugar intake can be helpful for vaginal imbalances. In terms of urinary tract health, make sure you keep your fluids up, and don’t ignore your body when you need to pee. Go when you need to go – don’t put it off.
Are there any supplements to pack for the holidays?
Clinicians has a couple of excellent products for supporting vaginal health. Clinicians Flora Restore has two unique strains of probiotics that, when taken orally, migrate to the bladder and vagina. These probiotics support the body’s natural balance of beneficial bacteria in the area.
There is also Clinicians Yeast Balance that comes with an applicator, so you can insert the probiotics directly into the vagina. This quickly puts supportive bacteria into that area.
In terms of the bladder, try Clinicians Bladder Support & Cranberry sachets. They’re really handy as you can just chuck a few into your bag and make a drink at the first sign of any bladder discomfort. These have D-Mannose and cranberry to flush the bladder and discourage less beneficial bacteria. D-Mannose is also the sole ingredient in Clinicians Bladder Support, which is perfect for daily use and support.
Click this link enter the draw to be in to win a Free Consultation with Clinician Naturopath Jane Cronin and 6 months’ worth of recommended Clinicians supplements. 1x prize bundle to be won. Competition ends 28th Feb 2024, T’s & C’s apply.
Visit the Clinicians website to find out more about their research-based range of women’s health products, or book a free consultation with one of their naturopaths.
Always read the label. Use as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Dietary supplements are not a replacement for a balanced diet. Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Auckland.