The term “winter vagina” has been popping up a lot lately, but is this real or just a trend? We turned to gynecologists for the answers.

Gynaecologist and general vagina genius Jen Gunter, who’s previously debunked the need for jade vagina eggs and vagina steaming, said that “vaginas function quite well in all seasons”.

She also added that women should lean towards showering instead of taking long baths because that can disrupt the natural pH of the area.

Vaginal Dryness

As we head into winter, some women notice that their intimate areas are drier than usual. That’s because central heating systems suck the moisture from the air, leaving skin and the vagina dry and itchy. Added to the fact that many women wear tights and long pants, which can lead to friction against the vulva, this can create what is known as ‘winter vagina’.

It’s not exactly a new phenomenon, but it seems to be getting a lot more attention now that the weather is changing. Actress Felicia Day shared a link to a story about it on her Instagram, and the internet went wild with comments. Some of them urged women to use a personal lubricant, and others said they were taking probiotics with strains that can reach the vulva, like Optibac Probiotics ‘For Women’.

Experts, however, are divided on whether winter vagina is a thing at all. Gynecologist Jen Gunter – who previously debunked the need for jade vagina eggs and vaginal steaming, as well as a remedy that involved using ground-up dirt – wrote in a blog post that vaginas function quite well in all seasons.

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According to the NHS, vaginal dryness can be caused by a drop in estrogen levels, as well as by pregnancy, breastfeeding, childbirth, certain contraceptives, and cancer treatments. The best treatment is a daily moisturizer or a vaginal lubricant, which are available without prescription at most pharmacies. Other options include oral estrogen tablets or creams, but these will only work temporarily and require continuous monitoring.

Itching

The vulva is one of the most delicate areas of your body and can be easily irritated. The itching you might feel in your vulva could be caused by a lot of things including irritations, infections, dryness, some STIs and some skin conditions like psoriasis, which is an autoimmune condition that causes itchy, scaly patches to appear on the skin.

If you’re noticing a lot of itching in your vulva, make an appointment to see your GP right away. They’ll be able to diagnose what’s causing it, and they’ll prescribe you the correct treatment. Itching can also be a symptom of some STIs like herpes, which is an STI that can cause rashes and other symptoms in the vulva. If you have itching and discharge, or pelvic pain, see your GP immediately as this might be a sign of herpes or another STI.

If you’re experiencing itching, try taking a cool shower or bath with lukewarm water, and avoid using soaps or other products that contain fragrances or synthetic ingredients. You might also want to try boiling some basil leaves in a pan and rinsing your vulva with the water when it’s cool – this can help reduce irritation.

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Irritation

Itching anywhere on the body can be extremely uncomfortable, especially when it occurs in a sensitive area like the vagina or vulva. Itching can be caused by a variety of things, including skin conditions such as eczema or psorias. However, itching in this sensitive area can also be a sign of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.

Yeast infections can occur when the good bacteria in your vagina are unable to keep up with the growth of the yeast fungus that’s naturally in the body. If left untreated, a yeast infection can cause vaginal itching and foul-smelling discharge. Yeast infections are very common and affect three out of four women at some point in their lives.

The itchiness, irritation and discharge of a yeast infection can be difficult to treat, especially during the winter, when you may need to wear warm clothing that restricts the flow of air. To help manage a yeast infection, your doctor may recommend taking medication, avoiding alcohol and using feminine sprays, creams or ointments. If you are experiencing symptoms of a yeast infection, it is important to speak with your doctor as soon as possible so that they can test for and prescribe the right treatment. Yeast infections can be very painful for some people, so getting treated early is the best way to reduce the discomfort.

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Pain

It’s no secret that the weather has a major impact on our face, skin, and hair. But what many women may not know is that changes in temperature and humidity can also affect our vaginas.

When it comes to vaginal health, it’s essential to stay hydrated. You should be drinking about 6-8 glasses of water each day to help keep your body hydrated and reduce the likelihood of itching and dryness. It’s also important to avoid sugary drinks like soda and swap them out for herbal teas and hydrating beverages like lemon juice and lime slices.

The winter vagina myth began to take off when a former midwife warned that our private areas can enter “drought mode” as the temperature drops. She claimed that the change in weather can cause a slew of issues from itching to pain and even affect our sexual pleasure.

But according to gynecologist Jen Gunter, who has a passion for debunking bad vaginal advice (she’s previously blasted Teen Vogue for encouraging girls to get their summer vaginas ready) the theory is utterly incorrect. The vagina is a self-cleaning, self-regulating haven that takes care of itself. So it’s pretty tricky for the outside world to have an impact on our inner parts unless we shove ice up there or wrap ourselves in a layer of bubble wrap.