As with all parts of the body, the vagina is full of microorganisms that help to maintain the vaginal ecosystem, or microbiome. Taking care of these small microorganisms is key to looking after your wider sexual health. In essence, your vaginal microbiome matters; it can not only affect your vaginal health and wider health and wellbeing, but it can even impact the enjoyment you get out of sex.
Whether you are using condoms to sustain a healthy vagina or improving your nutritional intake for a more holistic approach, ensuring your vaginal microbiome stays happy and healthy is a great way to promote a happy and healthy sex life.
Want to know more about your vaginal health, or how Durex Naturals can help maintain the ecosystem of the vagina? The world of microbiomes can be a little daunting but fear not, in this article, we’re going to tell you what you need to know about the vaginal microbiome and how to best look after it.
What is the vaginal microbiome?
Whereas the human microbiome refers to the aggregate of all microbiota that reside on or within human tissues, the vaginal microbiome refers specifically to the microorganisms found on and within the vagina. Vaginal microbiota plays a significant role in maintaining vaginal health. In fact, the bacteria and microorganisms found in the human vagina are considered the first line of defence against vaginal infection.
If significantly disrupted, changes in the vaginal microbiome can lead to conditions such as fungal infections and bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is typically signified by a white discharge as well as other symptoms, such as fishy smell, and can even lead to a higher susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections.
What can disrupt the vaginal ecosystem?
A happy and healthy vagina can mean a happy and healthy sex life. Some of us may go through life and experience very few issues with our vaginal ecosystems however, it’s important to remember that disruption in the vaginal microbiome is common and very normal.
Disruption in the vaginal microbiome can occur for several reasons, some of which include:
- Hormones – Hormonal changes are thought to lead to changes in the vaginal microbiome.
- Smoking – Smoking has been linked with an increased incidence of bacterial vaginosis in studies, meaning cigarettes have an effect on the vaginal microbiome.
- Diet – Diet has long been established as a cause of disruption in the digestive microbiome however, there is also evidence to suggest diet may play a part in vaginal health too.
- Sexual activity – A study has demonstrated a link between sexual intercourse, such as how often you switch partners and/or the number of sexual partners a person may have, and the disruption of the vaginal microbiome, resulting in bacterial vaginosis.
By promoting a healthy lifestyle, we are promoting a happy and healthy vagina. If you do find you experience regular disruption in your vaginal health, the use of condoms can be a great way to reduce disruption of the vagina microbiome, as unprotected sex is a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis as well as for other fungal infections.
If you find you are experiencing discomfort during sex, or prolonged symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, you should seek the help from a medically trained professional who will be able to advise on treatment options.
Using condoms to promote natural vaginal health
As with the vagina, the penis also has microorganisms, and it’s the meeting of these two worlds that can cause disruption in the vaginal ecosystem. Although not classified as an STI, if you are suffering from bacterial vaginosis, sex with a partner can worsen your symptoms and can even cause your partner to experience issues with their own genital microbiome.
If you find you commonly experience bacterial vaginosis, or you are prone to other bacterial infections or disruptions in your vaginal ecosystem, a condom can be a great way to help you enjoy good sex whilst allowing you to worry less about how sex might affect your vaginal health.
Durex Naturals condoms with lube, for example, are designed with her in mind. Our thin, Naturals condom is coated with a water-based lubricant made from 98% natural origin ingredients, helping provide a smooth, intimate, and protected experience with your partner.
There is strong evidence to suggest a reduction in the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis when condoms are used. Durex Naturals are also free from artificial colourants & flavours should that be a concern for you, giving you peace of mind whilst you enjoy sex with your partner.
Got more questions when it comes to all things sex? Head over to our Explore Sex blog where we discuss everything from sex during periods to vaginal dryness. Ready to shop? Hit the shelves and pick up some Durex Naturals condoms today.
Always read the instructions.