For lots of people the point of exercising is to sweat, but that means there can be... well, repercussions for your vagina if you're not aware of the dos and don'ts when it comes to care down there.
Luckily, our vaginas are such magical creatures they have the ability to self-clean and generally look after themselves. There are a couple of things we should avoid doing, however, if we want to keep our genitals in tip top hygienic condition after exercise. And Canesten's Consultant Gynaecologist, Anne Henderson, has all the wisdom you need to make sure you don't make any simple mistakes:
DON'T: USE YOUR GYM GEAR MORE THAN ONCE
Most people fire their gym stuff straight in the wash post-workout, but if you've ever dwelled for a few seconds too long on whether your leggings are really that sweaty, and if they could survive another session before being washed, gynecologist Anne is here to persuade you otherwise. "I would recommend that women wash their gym gear after every use," she tells Cosmopolitan UK. "The close fit, the synthetic fibers used (lycra and elastane), and the sweaty environment of use mean that this clothing is a potentially fertile breeding ground for bacteria and yeast." Glorious.
In terms of how hard you should go on cleaning your gym kit, the expert advises not to sway too much from your usual routine with all your other garments. "Specialist cleaning products with antibacterial action are now available, but I would not normally recommend these for daily use, although they may be beneficial for using intermittently, say once a week or so."
DON'T: DO SPINNING IF YOU'RE PRONE TO VAGINAL ISSUES
"Exercise as a rule is great for the whole body, including intimate vaginal health. If a woman suffers from vulvo-vaginal problems such as recurrent thrush or cystitis, however, I would recommend minimizing exercises undertaken on a fixed bike," advises the gynecologist.
"There is evidence that the intense pressure on the vulval area which this type of exercise tends to involve can lead to localized inflammation and irritation and also retrograde (upwards) spread of bacteria from the perineum via the urethra to the bladder, which could potentially lead to an increased risk of cystitis. This is further exacerbated by the risk of dehydration, which can occur during intense exercise. For women who experience this specific problem I would recommend looking at alternative forms of intense cardiovascular exercise, for example, using the treadmill or cross-trainer." Is it time to switch up your class preference?