Gynaecological problems during the summer -OR- a guide on how not to spoil your summer plans!

Article

22. 07. 2019

Summer is the time of year for holidays, traveling, sports, sunbathing and swimming. However, for many women this period is also associated with many unpleasant gynaecological problems which are exacerbated by heat, tight clothing such as swimsuits, sitting for long periods of time, or swimming in pools or stagnant waters. The quality of water in natural bodies of water should therefore be carefully considered, but even pool water with a high content of chlorine can impair the natural pH of the vagina.

Prevention, or what can be easily avoided.

  • Excessive consumption of sweets (more than twice a week)
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Use of scented products unsuitable for intimate hygiene (sprays, shower gels, soaps)
  • Wearing tight, synthetic underwear
  • All kinds of clothing that trap heat and moisture
  • Prolonged use of vaginal pads and pads
  • Poor or excessive hygiene
  • Unhygienic sexual intercourse
  • Direct infection
  • Hormonal changes (contraception, pregnancy)
  • Antibiotics (especially penicillin)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Stress


Frequent swimming and or wearing cold wet swimsuit or unbreathable materials significantly increases the risk of developing an external inflammation of the genitals or vaginal infections and moulds, which, if not treated properly, can have unpleasant consequences.
 

Yeast infections are among the most common seasonal female infections, as yeasts thrive in warm and humid environments. In the summer months, not only does the outside temperature rise, but also the temperature of the vagina rises, and so the yeast prosper. Clinical symptoms of a yeast infection present as unpleasant itching and burning sensations or vaginal discharge. The first recommended preventative measure for avoiding a yeast infection is to gently dry yourself after bathing and then change it into a dry garment, preferably a light, breathable and cotton material. 

 

What to wear: clothing, underwear, and how to care for your garments

  • Wear only cotton underwear
  • If possible, try to avoid wearing clothing that will make you sweaty and retain moisture. 
  • Do not wear tight clothing, especially during your period
  • Take extra care of your undergarments - e.g. boiling your underwear to sterilize it
  •  

Excessive hygiene can cause more harm than good. The first step may be to limit the amount of scented or dyed pads, liners and toilet paper. Also, immoderate use of intimate hygiene products such as intimate soaps or deodorants may, paradoxically, harm the female reproductive system. 

 

Bathing and swimming

  • After each bath/ swimming session, dry yourself thoroughly
  • Change from a wet swimsuit as soon as possible after getting out of the water- a cold and damp bathing suit is a fantastic breeding ground for vaginal yeasts. 
  • Do not use perfumed soaps or shower gels to wash your intimate area
  • Only use products that are intended and suitable for intimate hygiene, but sometimes lukewarm water is completely adequate. 

Additionally, be cautious of using a tampon as a preventative method while swimming in dirty pools, ponds, lakes or other polluted waters. The tampon does not act as a barrier and can also transfer pathogens into the vagina. 

 

First Aid

When presented with the aforementioned symptoms, the first line of treatment is an internal washing of the reproductive system, either with a physical swab, or a vaginal lavage, infused with natural extracts and oils, or perhaps bathing in a solution prepared of anti-inflammatory/anti-bacterial herbs or plants. The use of lactobacilli bacteria, both ingested orally or applied into the vagina is very helpful in restoring the vagina’s natural and protective pH. 

 

If these first aid methods do not eliminate your symptoms, contact your gynaecologist for a clinical examination that usually includes obtaining a smear of the vaginal mucosa, that is then sent off to be studied microbiologically and mycologically. If a pathogenic vaginal flora is found, a special treatment based on the pathogen’s sensitivity will be recommended.

 

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