We all know that working out is an essential part of keeping our bodies healthy and fit. Admittedly, it’s a struggle for many of us. But the results can feel so darn good! Have you ever wondered if exercise can hurt your vagina? Maybe not, but did you know it might?
It turns out that exercise can wreak absolute havoc on your sensitive lady parts. Getting hot and sweaty puts a lot of friction and extra moisture down there. That means if you don’t change right away it can become a breeding ground for yeast and other infections.
So what can you do to make sure your vagina stays healthy? Obviously, quitting your workouts isn’t the answer, so here are some easy steps to incorporate into your daily exercise routine!
- Start with the right workout gear: To keep extra heat and moisture away, make sure that your workout clothes (and undies!) are made from breathable fabric. If it has moisture-wicking properties, that’s a bonus. Avoid heavy or stiff materials and go for options like spandex and cotton instead.
Additionally, thongs are a big no-no. Now, you’re probably thinking, “But what about panty lines?” Obviously, no one wants that, but you do have alternatives. If you can’t find seamless breathable underwear, try some workout bottoms with built-in panty liners or ditch the undies altogether.
- Don’t re-wear unwashed clothes: As tempting as it is to get one more sweat sesh out of your favorite yoga pants—don’t! While it may seem “eco-friendly,” re-wearing your workout clothes puts you at really high risk for infections. Every time you work out, you leave sweat and bacteria on your clothes. Putting them back on doubles the risk of unbalancing your sensitive vagina’s pH levels and causing heat rash.
- Strip down and clean up—fast: Your butt probably does look fantastic in those spandex shorts, but wearing them out after you exercise isn’t a great idea. Regardless of how loose or breathable your workout clothes are, get them off as fast as possible to let your vagina air out. You may not realize how much sweat you’ve trapped in there.
Don’t forget to wash up and get rid of that excess sweat and bacteria, too. Ideally, you should take a shower right after every workout. But if you can’t do that because of your location or schedule, bring a towel to wipe off the sweat and keep feminine wipes handy to give your vag a quick cleanse.
- Take preventative care for “saddle sores”: Cyclists and horseback riders are prime targets for chafing and pain on your lady bits. With so much pressure on this sensitive area, it’s common for your delicate skin to take a beating during workouts. Get ahead of this issue by choosing proper padding and keeping the correct posture. If you cycle (or spin), find a seat that fits your body the right way and has plenty of cushioning. Then do yourself another favor and buy a good pair of bicycle shorts with more padding.
One more thing: shaving off your pubes isn’t doing you any favors. Even if you don’t like having a patch, those hairs naturally protect your sensitive skin from chafing and bruising. Consider growing it out a little to protect yourself if you’re really into cycling and horseback riding.
Part of being healthy is taking good care of your lady parts because they’re an essential piece to our overall wellness. If you think your workout routine may be harming your vaginal health, speak with your OBGYN to make sure that you’re not doing any permanent damage. But if you’ve been struggling with infections or chafing, incorporating these easy steps into your routine may be the simple solution to reduce the extra wear and tear on your vagina. Plus, it gives you a good excuse to buy cute new workout clothes! You go, girl!
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.