Hitting the gym is the easiest way to stay fit for city dwellers and those who prefer the air-conditioned comfort of the indoors to sweating it out on a hiking trail or running under the hot sun. We already know working out -however you choose to do it – is fantastic for your body and mind, which contributes to healthier intimate parts and a happier sex life.
But you might not be prepared for what the unique attributes of the gym can do to your vaginal health. Without a little attention to detail and self-care, your gym routine could actually harm your yoni – from causing yeast and bacterial infections to full-on rashes between your thighs.
It only takes a few minor changes to safe-guard your pleasure parts from gym-related sexual health issues, like pH imbalances and harmful habits, that can leave you wondering why your abs are looking stellar but your vagina is begging for a sick day.
If you’ve been suffering from a constant string of vaginal issues, this check list of simple behavioral changes can help determine whether your gym routine could the culprit.
Watch What You Wear
Those new stretch pants with the see-thru panels look hot in your gym selfie, but your vagina might not agree.
Make sure your work-out wear lets your skin breath while keeping moisture from pooling around your privates and soaking your crotch.
Cotton is great for breathe-ability, but can leave you soaked in sweat. Nylon is a great choice for keeping moisture at bay and letting your vag get some air, even during the sweatiest workouts. Spandex and polyester work well, too.
Some fabrics are even bacteria-resistant, so keep an eye out for specialized fitness leggings that’ll do your vagina good.
It’s Not Worth it to Spare Yourself the Extra Laundry
We know how tempting it can be to throw on day-old workout wear. You’ll be breaking a sweat anyway, and the laundry bag will be that less heavy to lug around. But wearing yesterday’s gym garb could contribute to vaginal infections and clogged pores and hair follicles.
Sweat has a talent for helping bacteria build up on the skin and dig deep into your pores. Hair follicles and pores – especially those around your V-spot and sweat glands – are vulnerable to clogging from skin flakes, sweaty, day-old gym clothes, and even normal bacteria that’s found on your skin, but can cause issues beneath the surface.
Keep it simple and toss those dirty duds right into the laundry basket. Your pores will stay cleaner – hello, less zits and red spots caused by irritation! – and your vagina will be less susceptible to infections from yesterday’s sweat build-up.
And While You’re At It – Get Outta Today’s Nasty Gym Duds!
Dirty clothes really aren’t doing you any favors. Once you’ve completed your fitness routine, rip off those rank yoga pants, pronto.
Even if you washed ’em this morning and worked out this afternoon, a sweat and bacteria-soaked crotch can still irritate your sensitive vulva and turn into a nightmare of a yeast or bacterial infection.
This goes double if you’re a swimmer. Your skin’s own bacteria, plus harsh pool chemicals like chlorine, plus whatever other bodily fluids were floating around in the water – it’s just a bad combination for vaginas everywhere. Hanging around in a wet bathing suit is a one-way ticket to itchiness, foul smelling discharge and sore, irritated vaginal walls.
Our vaginas might be wet on the inside, but that doesn’t mean they like taking a bath in work-out wear or bikini bottoms. Keep your goodies dry post-pool or exercise, and take a shower as soon as possible to wash away irritants.
Nix Sores and Rashes
Chafing: it can happen to anyone.. When skin rubs on skin, or clothes can’t stop feeling you up, you can wind up with rashes and redness.
Minor irritation caused by repeated contact with fabric can takes days to clear up, while bacteria-induced rashes can last for weeks and might even end in an expensive trip to the dermatologist.
Nix fabric and sweat rashes on your inner thighs, vulva, and groin by wearing tight-fitting clothing that provides full coverage over areas where skin touches skin. Cotton workout wear is best if you’ve got really sensitive skin, and make sure it fits well without rubbing or itching while you’re on the move.
You can also prevent chafing by applying corn starch, petroleum jelly like Vaseline, or Vitamin A or D ointment to areas that are prone to contact rashes, like the insides of your thighs. Whether or not you’ve got the much-overrated thigh gap has nothing to do with health or fitness, so don’t suffer for the sake of unrealistic beauty standards.
It’s OK to See a Doctor for Persistent Problems
If you just can’t seem to kick rashes and sores, sub-dermal infections, or imbalances in your vagina, don’t feel too ashamed to see a doctor. Gym-related health issues can happen to anyone – even picture-perfect fitness models and Instagram stars, especially if they spend hours at the gym every day.
After all, remember that working out is about living longer and keeping your body in tip-top shape to fight against viruses, bacteria, and other invading pollutants that can compromise your immune system. Liking what you see in the mirror is just a side effect of keeping your body happy and healthy. A doctor can help you build a fit lifestyle that works just for your body type without putting too much stress on your skin and intimate parts.
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.
Colleen began her sexual wellness career as a sex toy educator in manufacturing and retail. She has since branched out as a writer and marketer, covering all facets of sexual health and anatomy. At Intimina, she specializes in women’s medical care and health concerns, menstruation, sex and pregnancy, and birth control. Colleen frequently confers with top sex educators and intimate wellness experts to stay on top of the constantly changing sexual wellness space.