How to Detox Your Vagina

Your vagina has a perfect pH balance and naturally cleanses itself through your discharge. Trying to detox your vagina through yoni pearls or other products is likely to cause more harm than good.

Women should focus on daily hygiene and making sure to visit a gynecologist or primary care provider at least once a year for health screenings. Using feminine sprays that are heavily scented can irritate the delicate tissue inside of your labia.

1. Change Your Hygiene Routine

It’s no secret that a healthy vagina is a beautiful thing, and feminine hygiene is key to feeling (and smelling) fresh down there. But you can overdo it by washing with traditional soaps or shower gels, which can wreck your vulva’s natural pH levels and disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria.

Products like yoni pearls—small, herbal suppositories shaped like pearls and inserted with an applicator—claim to “detox” your vulva by removing toxic buildup from menstrual products, previous sexual partners, or GMO-laden food. But ob-gyns are largely wary of these products, as well as other so-called vaginal detox practices.

Instead, try to clean your vulva with gentle and unscented wash like Luvena Daily Therapeutic Wash. Its ingredients, including tea tree oil and copaiba oil, are packed with antibacterial and antifungal properties to fight any bacteria that might be causing odor or itching down there. And skip the douche, which can wash away those healthy bacteria and cause irritation, itching and yeast infections. Douching can also make the anus and vulva vulnerable to infection from bacteria that like to grow in moist environments, such as when we wear sweaty workout clothes or swimsuits.

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2. Change Your Diet

From jade eggs and yoni pearls to douching and vaginal steaming, there is no shortage of practices that are being touted as ways to detox your vulva. However, most of these are not supported by scientific evidence.

The truth is, your vulva doesn’t need a cleanse-it does so naturally via secretions that protect against unhealthy bacteria and keep the area at a healthy acidic pH. Trying to change this environment can actually be harmful.

To help maintain a healthy vagina, make sure to eat foods rich in probiotics like yogurt (choose one that is low in sugar), dark leafy greens, garlic and kimchi. You can also add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your bath to reduce odor, and use tea tree oil to clean your vulva.

If you do eat meat or dairy, be sure to choose products that are labeled as hormone-free. Hormones can mimic the natural estrogen your body produces, and this imbalance can cause issues down there. Also, limit caffeine since it can dehydrate you and decrease the amount of lubrication your body makes.

3. Exercise

For starters, cut sugar and alcohol out of your diet. Both of these can wreak havoc on your reproductive system, encouraging yeast growth and increasing your risk for infection down there. But there are plenty of other things you can do to promote a healthy vagina. “Eating yogurt and probiotics will help keep the vulva flora in balance, which is important for vaginal health,” says Dr. Sholes-Douglas. But don’t overdo it on the sweet stuff — sugar can actually outweigh the good effects of the yogurt.

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You should also drink lots of water. This can help you lose weight, boost your energy and hydrate your body. You can even try infusing your water with fruit to make it more flavorful.

But don’t waste your money on vaginal cleanser products that claim to “detox” your vulva. The gynecologist we interviewed warns that this is a bad idea, as it could cause the vulva to lose its protective layer and lead to an imbalance of the normal vaginal discharge. And it’s definitely not possible for any product to “cleanse” you of sexual trauma, as there is no product that can remove the emotional scarring that happens down there.

4. Drink Water

When it comes to your vagina, drinking plenty of water is one of the most important things you can do. It can help keep your uterus happy and healthy, as it helps flush out any lingering bacteria that may be causing you discomfort down there.

Another easy way to get more fluids in is by consuming more leafy green veggies, like spinach and kale. These are high in Vitamin C, which can also be good for your vulva. You can also add more fruits to your diet, like kiwi, which contains lots of antioxidants that help with inflammation. And don’t forget about fatty fish, such as salmon, which is full of Omega-3s that are great for vaginal health.

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Finally, you should try to avoid any vaginal detox sprays or “detox pearls” that have been making the rounds. These products claim to cleanse your womb of bacteria and yeast and help ease menstrual cramps, but experts SELF talked to say they are unnecessary at best and harmful at worst. Plus, many of them contain ingredients that could irritate the delicate vulva tissue.

5. Change Your Lifestyle

Between scented tampons, feminine sprays and vaginal detox pearls, there are many products marketed to help you clean up down there. But what you may not know is that your vagina already does a great job of cleaning itself with regular discharge and its own specific acidic pH, Kecia Gaither, MD, an ob-gyn and maternal-fetal medicine specialist, tells SELF. Additionally, the pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened by doing Kegel exercises and a good lubricant can keep things smooth down there.

However, some of these products could be harmful—for instance, vaginal steaming can cause chemical burns to the delicate skin and douching can disrupt the natural pH balance and lead to an overgrowth of yeast (yeast vaginitis). Eating a balanced diet, not smoking, exercising regularly and addressing any past traumas can all contribute to good vaginal health. And eating probiotic yoghurts that contain lactobacillus can prevent disease-causing organisms and promote healthy bacteria.

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