What is Winter Vagina?

With the temperature dropping you may have heard about a new seasonal genital concern: winter vagina. This catchy term is said to describe when our intimate area goes into ‘drought mode’ with the colder weather.

But what exactly causes this? And is it real? We asked experts. Jen Gunter, MD – who’s pretty famous for debunking women’s health myths – weighs in.

Vaginal skin is prone to dryness.

There’s no doubt that vaginal skin can be dry – especially during the winter months. This is due to cold weather and the use of central heating systems that suck the moisture out of the air, and also because women tend to drink less water in the winter. All of this can lead to dry, flaky vulva skin and chafing in the pubic area.

In addition, some women are also prone to skin conditions such as Sjogren’s Syndrome which can cause dry skin in the body – including in the vulva. It’s important to drink plenty of water and use a natural, all-body lotion or moisturizing cream. It is also a good idea to use lubricants during intercourse, just as you would use them on other parts of the body. However, avoid any lubricants that contain petroleum jelly or mineral oil as these may damage latex condoms or diaphragms.

It’s also a good idea to avoid tight, pantyhose and any other materials that can irritate the vulva. If you are experiencing itchiness or chafing in the vulva, it’s best to see your health care provider. They can determine if you are suffering from vaginal atrophy, a common condition that occurs in the elderly and can lead to itchy or painful vulva.

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As a result of this trend, many people are concerned about their vaginal health in the winter. Scary Mommy reached out to gynecologist and all-around vagina genius Dr Jen Gunter, who confirmed that this is not something women need to worry about.

The weather is a factor.

The cold weather can definitely cause dryness of all the skin on your body including the vaginal area. The drier air can also rob your skin of essential oils and moisture especially when you spend a lot of time inside with the heating on. The tights and layers we wear during winter can also stifle ventilation and lead to increased sweating in the intimate area. These conditions can then create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.

However, if you experience itchy or painful vaginal areas during the winter it’s unlikely that it’s caused by central heating or the cold weather. In fact, it’s more likely to be the result of an imbalance in your hormone levels which can affect all areas of your vulva.

Jen Gunter, OB/GYN and blogger, is an expert when it comes to debunking women’s health myths and she was quick to point out that the fabled winter vagina is not real. In a scathing satirical blog post she wrote, “It’s a little bit like the summer penis—the ice queen is coming and she’s going to suck your vulva dry.”

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One way to combat this issue is to use non-scented natural body products as well as avoiding hot showers or baths. It’s also worth investing in a humidifier to keep the home moist and warm which will help to maintain that pH balance in your vulva area.

You’re not drinking enough water.

During winter, your body needs extra care to keep it healthy. You need to drink plenty of water, eat foods that provide important vitamins and minerals, and use natural products on your skin and vagina.

You can do your vulva a big favour by ditching those harsh soaps and instead washing with an emollient such as aqueous cream, double base or diprobase. Emollients can also help to protect the delicate skin in the area against itching and irritation. They’re available in a wide range of pharmacies and supermarkets and cost very little.

It’s a good idea to use an emollient before putting on your underwear too. This helps to protect the skin against dryness and also acts as a barrier against the bacteria in your underwear and on the shaving tool which can lead to yeast infections.

Finally, it’s a good idea to sleep with a humidifier on to ensure your skin stays hydrated all through winter and beyond. Just make sure the humidifier isn’t too close to your vagina as this can disturb the area’s natural pH balance and cause irritation.

You’re wearing tights and layers.

As the temperature dips, many women start worrying about getting their vagina summer ready. However, once the temperatures drop even further, it’s time to turn our attention to a new seasonal genital concern: winter vagina. Apparently, the colder weather zaps moisture from our intimate skin. This is because central heating systems used to keep us cosy suck all the air’s moisture, and this can have a drying effect on all of our skin, including your vulva. Added to this, thick tights and layers that are necessary for braving the cold will stifle your skin’s ventilation. This can lead to a dry vulva, as well as other issues like itching and irritation.

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It’s also important to note that a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables can help to boost the natural lubrication in your vulva, which will reduce issues like dryness and itching. Additionally, spending a bit more time on foreplay with your partner and using a good quality lubricant during sexual activity can also increase arousal.

Thankfully, though, gynaecologist and general vagina genius Dr Jen Gunter has come out to say that you don’t need to worry about ‘winter vagina’. She’s previously debunked the need for jade vaginal eggs, vaginal steaming and putting ground-up dirt in your vulva, so we knew she’d be right on this one.

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