Good news – ESSENCE’s “Ask An OB-GYN” series is back to bring you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, renowned Obstetrics and Gynecology physician Dr. Tosha Rogers wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. If you have a sexual health concern or question you want to swing her way, we’ve got you covered.  Email [email protected] with “Ask An OB-GYN” in the subject line and ask away!

Q: How can women keep their vaginal areas fresh in the summer heat? We’re often told by OB-GYNs that perfumed sprays and wipes aren’t great, as they can throw off the vagina’s PH. With that in mind, what products/methods can be used to keep our vaginal areas clean and smelling fresh during the hot climates?

A: In the summer months, a lot of women find it difficult to maintain good vaginal hygiene. I tell my patients to make sure they don’t overdo it with the perfume and to never underestimate the value of hydration. I also incorporate holistic treatments into my practice whenever possible. Let’s go through the most important tips for maintaining vaginal hygiene in the summer:

1. Your diet can have an impact on your discharge and definitely on yeast production. Have lighter fare (ie. salads, smaller meals, seasonal fruit). Try to avoid heavy meals (pastas, breads, and excessive sugars) which can cause yeast infections. Yeast eats sugar, so the higher the blood sugar, the higher the risk of yeast. If you’d like to add some holistic intervention, take a shot of apple cider vinegar daily. You can consume this either as a shot or in a bottle of water. The capsules are effective as well.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink as much water as safely possible. I recommend alkaline water, but any water will do. It has so many benefits for your skin, your weight and yes, your discharge. It will even help with lubrication during sex.

3. Change your shower routine. Who says you can only bathe once a day? It’s hot? Sweating is natural. It doesn’t make you dirty, it makes you human. I recommend showering in the morning when you wake up ( you sweat in your sleep), as well as before you begin your evening. You will smell and feel better.

4. Never use perfumed soaps, baby wipes or anything else to “mask” or “prevent” odor or anything else. If you are the type that must wipe with something wet to feel fresh, take some paper towels from the house, wet them with water only and put them in a plastic storage bag to use throughout the day. Easy!

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