Women's Health Expert Shares Top Vaginal Hygiene Tips For Summer — Exclusive

When the weather is warmer and more humid, one thing to prioritize is your vaginal health. This is particularly true if you're lounging by the pool or surfing the waves at the beach, since wet swimsuits are often a culprit for uncomfortable and painful yeast infections, reports Teen Vogue. That's because heat and humidity create the perfect environment for yeast to grow, leading to vaginal discomfort, itchiness, and a disruption to your summer fun.

Yeast infections can be more likely to occur during the summer months when you're perspiring a lot. Dr. Maria Sophocles, gynecologist and women's health expert, tells Health Digest in an exclusive interview, "Be aware that you will be perspiring down there. Sometimes vaginal odor is socially embarrassing. RepHresh odor eliminating vaginal gel is one way to deal with this. I also suggest keeping extra underwear in hand so you can change to fresh dry underwear anytime you need to." 

If you experience symptoms of yeast infections, such as painful urination, redness or burning around your vaginal area, or a thick, white discharge that resembles cottage cheese, don't attempt home remedies (via WebMD). Instead, consult with your women's health provider who can offer advice on appropriate treatment options.

Preventing yeast infections

One of the best things you can do to uphold your vaginal health during the summer is to take preventative steps to mitigate your risk of getting a yeast infection, especially if you're prone to them. "If you get yeast infections recurrently in the summer you need to get out of wet clothing, no underwear at night, [and] get checked for diabetes," says Dr. Sophocles. As it turns out, yeast infections can be an early warning sign of diabetes, according to Beyond Type 1

If proper clothing choices and diabetes are ruled out, and you are still experiencing repeat yeast infections, hormonal imbalances may be to blame (via Healthline). Sometimes hormonal imbalances during your menstrual cycle can lead to yeast infections, so speaking openly with your doctor about your vaginal health is key.

When it comes to your diet, limiting sugar and adding in yogurt with plenty of probiotics can help reduce your risk of summertime yeast infections, recommends HealthyWomen. Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to an overgrowth of yeast in your vaginal area. 

Maria Sophocles, MD, Gynecologist is the Medical Director of Women's Healthcare of Princeton, NJ, and host of livestream GyneCollege.