What is Winter Vagina?

As winter sets in you might expect the skin on your vulva and mons pubis to feel dry. But that’s not really what happens, because, unlike your hands and lips, your vagina is protected by a layer of mucus.

So despite the plethora of headlines about winter butthole, there’s actually no need to panic. Here’s why.

Temperature

The temperature changes during winter can be hard on your skin, especially on your lips and hands. But can the cold weather also affect your vulva? That’s what many women are wondering, and gynecologists say the answer is no. The media has recently been spreading the rumour that a woman’s vagina can go into drought mode during winter, and that this can make foreplay less pleasurable or even painful. This has caused a lot of concern among vulvas, who are worried about how it’ll affect their sex life.

But don’t panic, ladies. The truth is that while it may feel dry at times, there are plenty of things you can do to help keep it in check. The best thing is to drink lots of water. You should aim for at least 6-8 glasses a day. It will help keep the skin on your vulva hydrated, which can ease dryness.

Another thing that will help is using a good quality moisturiser that has been created with the vagina in mind, and that is optimised for osmolality. Using a product that isn’t will only cause your vulva to lose water through the pores, making it even more dry.

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Heating

When winter comes around, it’s not just your hands and face that experience dryness, your vulva can be left feeling chapped and flaky too. This is because central heating has a habit of sucking the moisture out of the air, leaving your skin and genitals dry.

It might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but if you slather on some extra body butter or lotion, your vulva should return to normal pretty quickly. Keeping your intimate areas healthy is key too, especially in the winter, as the humid and airless environment makes it an ideal place for the growth of bad bacteria that can cause issues like thrush and bacterial vaginosis. Using products with a patented prebiotic, like the natural lubricant Regelle, can help increase the levels of good bacteria in your vulva and inhibit the growth of bad ones.

However, not all experts agree on whether the concept of ‘winter vagina’ exists. In fact, some are even keen to debunk it altogether. Dr Jen Gunter, OB/GYN and women’s health advocate, has previously rubbished the idea of a summer vagina, arguing that a woman’s genitals function quite well in all seasons. She recommends eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Clothes

As the weather gets colder, it’s likely that you’ll be slathering on extra moisturiser to your lips and skin. However, it may be worth remembering to slather some more on your sensitive bits too, as experts say that many women’s vulvas can become parched in the winter. Health expert Stephanie Taylor from Kegal8 tells MailOnline that the genital area often experiences “winter vagina” and this can make things like sex painful.

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She says that the central heating in homes sucks moisture from the air, and this can cause the skin of the vulva to feel dry. This can be made worse if you wear tight clothing, which is an extra strain on the vulva.

In summer, the vulva can be more likely to get a yeast infection because of hotter temperatures and humidity. However, in the winter, if you wear thick clothes that don’t breathe, this can lead to vaginal infections. She advises swapping your tights for cotton and going underwear-free at least a few times a day to give the vulva some breathable space.

The good news is that a winter vagina isn’t a real thing – the climate has no impact on the ecosystem inside your body. But if you do feel uncomfortable down there this winter, it’s best to talk to your doctor or gynecologist.

Baths

As the temperature drops, some women start to worry about their winter vagina. A former NHS midwife has claimed that the change in temperature can cause our genitals to enter ‘drought mode’, leading to problems with lubrication and impacting our sexual pleasure. Fortunately, gynaecologist and general vagina genius Dr Jen Gunter (who has previously debunked the need for jade vagina eggs, vaginal steaming, using ground-up dirt to ease period pains and the need to use a ‘winter penis’) is here to reassure us that we don’t need to panic about this new seasonal genital concern.

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She says: ‘Just like the heat in the summer can dry out lips, hands and feet, our vulva and private parts can also be affected by central heating systems sucking the moisture from the air. This, combined with the fact we tend to wear heavier clothing in winter, long, hot scented baths and being overly hygienic with our underwear can all disrupt our natural bacteria and create an environment for what some have described as ‘winter vagina’.

However, she points out that we should always be mindful of our intimate area and try to look after it as well as we do the rest of our body – including avoiding products that aren’t suitable for the vulva, and opting for showers instead of baths. Changing our diet and avoiding sugary processed foods, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly can also help keep our vulva happy.

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Aurelia

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