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Is Your Vagina in Your Self-Care Routine?

Welcome back, Chicas! This week, we’re talking vagina health, and how we maintain ours. Do you have a self-care routine for your vagina?

Cassidy: To My Fellow Genital Genius,

Before we even get started here, I’d like to point out how weird that address is. But it’s funny as hell. It is also the title we both earned from the genital knowledge quiz that is published on our first blog post. Which is still fun, by the way. I’m a big fan.

I love the term “Genital Genius,” but if we’re being honest, we still don’t deserve the title–it should be reserved for gynecologists. We do, however, pay more attention to our vaginas than most people. At this point, I’d like to think that I know exactly what my vagina needs (at least, most of the time). This took a lot of trial & error–like the time I accidentally bought scented tampons and thought I had contracted herpes because of my allergic reaction–but I eventually learned how to pay attention to and treat my vagina with the proper respect.

Why don’t more people have spa days for their vaginas? Face masks are very in right now, but where my vagina masks at? I’ll answer that question for you: they are nowhere. But there are other ways to treat your vagina right. For instance, I spent most of last week literally squirting yogurt up my vag because my pH was off balance and it needed some probiotic help. And because I obviously know how to have a good time.

Here are a few more of my self-care favorites:

  1. Taking a bath. With no bubbles. (Less fun for me, but more fun for my vagina. A quick PSA that your vagina doesn’t need soap to stay clean. It’s self-cleaning, so put down that scented shit, wench!)
  2. Fixing my diet. I should have more regular motivation to do this, but I don’t. (Most people don’t realize how much their diet influences their health–it’s not just about weight. If your vagina is out of whack, you should go visit a doctor, but also consider eating less sugar, etc., especially if you’re prone to yeast infections).
  3. Wearing cotton underwear. (It helps keep that vulva environment healthy and aerated).
  4. Wearing Thinx, Cute Fruit Undies, or using organic cotton tampons. (My scented tampon horror story is not a freak incident. It happens all the time. Here’s the issue: tampon and sanitary pad manufacturers aren’t legally required to disclose their ingredients, so menstrual products can be filled with all kinds of toxic BS. Not great for you, last time I checked. We don’t do lead paint anymore, but for some reason inserting toxic stuff into your literal insides is still cool).
  5. Get checked! I like to go once every semester, because I’m a student and that’s how I measure time. Plus the women’s clinic is my happy safe space.
  6. Masturbating. Duh.
  7. Eating my Chica. (When my cycle is balanced my vagina is happier. My body is actually shedding and dispelling everything it needs to get rid of, and a more regular cycle helps me keep track of when I ovulate/should normally have discharge. Gross word, normal bodily function. Get used to it).

What is your vaginal care routine like? Should we do a YouTube tutorial?

Love,

Cass

P.S. I’m totally kidding. We should not do a YouTube tutorial.

Elise: To my Organic Ovulator,

True to us being in sync, we both experienced our vaginal flora being out of balance around the same time. I found out at Planned Parenthood during a checkup for my IUD. The doctor did not even tell me she was prescribing me antibiotics, I had to come to that conclusion on my own when she mentioned I could not drink alcohol for a week. When I asked if they were necessary, she said, “Well it’s not serious, that’s why you haven’t noticed it before today.” I am so grateful to have medical advice for my vagina readily available, but it felt so unnecessary here and I would have left the office still lacking any idea of how to maintain vaginal health. I didn’t have any infection, my vagina was just lacking in healthy probiotics. For the next week, I added a few splashes of apple cider vinegar to my baths and one night I dipped a tampon in Keifer (ie, liquid yogurt) and let it hang out in my vagina for an hour. Easy, totally natural way to rebalance my good bacteria without antibiotics, which I’m trying to save for a serious disease or infection.

I love your list, especially masturbation, especially right now because I’m in my fertile week, lol. Receiving this heads up from the doctor at Planned Parenthood has been an important check in for me. I dug through my underwear drawer and realized that a majority of my underwear is not cotton, and I’m working to turn that around. Due to the beautiful wisdom of Junglepussy, I’ve known for a few years that fruits and veggies are the secret to a poppin pussy, but I’ve never been good about maintaining consistent consumption of produce. Making meals ahead of time, and not eating them in front of a computer screen while working with one hand, is my self-care goal of this semester, and I think my vagina will be happy.

I do want to add one point to your list, which fits in with diet:

8. Probiotics! After leaving Planned Parenthood, I replaced my basic probiotics with a Women’s Formula that includes that good bacteria that my vagina really needs. Honestly, this is the first step I recommend for anyone wondering why their vagina smells fishy bad because all home remedies and antibiotics will only be a temporary fix if you are not consistently providing your body the bacteria it is lacking. I used to complain that probiotics are too expensive, but they cost about $1 a day which is not bad!

Hey, World! What do you do for you vagina self-care? Comment below! 

When we saw the graphic, “Eat Pussy It’s Organic” earlier this week, we shared the reaction of “but, is it??” With all the chemicals (and the carcinogen, nitrosamines) in tampons and condoms, that vagina you’re snacking on might have a nice non-organic layer. (PSA: I don’t actually know if this is the way it works and I know the vagina is a powerhouse for cleansing itself, but for the sake of argument). This is so scary, but fortunately, there are some kick-ass women helping us watch out for our vaginas and spearheading the movement for organic, non-toxic, tampons and condoms to be available in the market. Sustain is currently the only really good supplier of safe condoms, but there are many options for organic tampons if you’re not switching to a cup or period underwear anytime soon.

Tell your vagina I’m wishing her well!

Love,

Elise

Image via The Yoni Empire and FORIA

Poria

Fungus & Root

Scierotium Poriae Cocos / Fu Ling / 茯苓 Scierotium Pararadicis Poriae Cocos / Fu Shen / 茯神

Poria calms the heart and soothes nerves, helping with anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, Poria drains dampness, an excess of moisture that the body collects in the wrong places and makes us feel heavy and fatigued (hello moodiness).

Chinese Salvia

Root

Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae / Dan Shen / 丹參

Salvia root nourishes the blood and heart, and calms the spirit. Salvia works with Schisandra and Zizyphus in Chica Chill to help relieve insomnia.

Rehmannia

Root

Radix Rehmanniae Preparata / Sheng Di Huang / 熟地黄

Rehmannia root is your Yin nourisher, supporting calm and cold in your system. With its additional ability to help cool blood, increase fluids, and clear heart fire; Rehmannia is a star herb for soothing and preventing heat flashes.

Polygala / Thin-Leaf Milkwort

Root

Radix Polygalae Tenuifoliae / Yuan Zhi / 元志

Polygala root nourishes the Heart, and helps soothe nerves and restlessness.

Schisandra / Chinese Magnolia

Berry

Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis / Wu Wei Zi / 五味子

Schisandra berry is famous for featuring all five flavors of Traditional Chinese Medicine: bitter, sweet, salty, sour, hot. This means that Schisandra is completely energetically balanced, promoting overall health and vitality. Schisandra helps relieve night sweats, insomnia, and hormonal imbalances. Schisandra is also rich in antioxidants that are thought to protect from free radicals and other toxins in the environment that may cause cellular damage. 

Platycodon / Balloon Flower

Root

Radix Platycodi / Jie Geng / 桔梗

Platycodon root is a neutral balancing herb, meaning it is not especially Yin or Yang. Platycodon is nourishing for the lungs, which in TCM, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Scrophularia / Figwort

Root

Radix Scrophulariae / Xuan Shen / 玄參

Scrophularia root nourishes Yin, drains fire, and cools the blood. Scrophularia is particularly soothing for irritability.

Ophiopogon / Dwarf Lilyturf

Tuber

Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici / Mai Men Dong / 麦门冬

Ophiopogon tuber works with Asparagus to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.

Stemona

Root

Radix Stemonae / Bai Bu / 百部

Stemona root is a balancing herb in the Chica Chill formula. Stemona is nourishing for the lungs, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Licorice

Root

Radix Glycyrrhizae / Gan Cao / 甘草

Licorice acts as a unifier, balancing the formula and amplifying the properties of the other herbs.

Zizyphus / Sour Jujube

Seed

Semen Zizyphi Spinosae / Suan Zao Ren / 酸枣仁

Zizyphus seed nourishes the heart and calms the spirit. Zizyphus helps relieve insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.

Ginseng

Root

Radix Ginseng / Ren Shen / 人参

Ginseng root, one of the most famous herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is known for its ability to strengthen Qi and support life vitality. Ginseng nourishes the Heart and calms the spirit, helping reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Acorus / Grassleaf Sweetflag

Rhizome

Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii / Shi Chang Pu / 石菖蒲

Acorus helps relieve internal heat and is a favorite herb for reducing frequent insomnia.

Eucommia / Chinese Rubber Tree

Bark

Cortex Eucommiae Ulmoidis / Du Zhong / 杜仲

Eucommia bark balances the Chica Chill formula by offering Yang properties. Eucommia is also nourishing for the heart, and has been featured in research in Western medicine for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

Angelica / Dong Quai

Root

Radix Angelicae Sinensis / Dong Quai / 当归

Angelica root is sometimes described as the “female ginseng,” due to its fame for supporting a healthy and regular menstrual cycle. Angelica root strengthens blood and energizes circulation. In Chica Chill, Angelica root balances the herbal formula with its Yang properties.

Biota / Arborvitae

Seed

Semen Platycladi / Bai Zi Ren / 柏子仁

Biota seed benefits memory and promotes restful sleep by nourishing the heart and calming the spirit.

Chinese Asparagus

Tuber

Tuber Asparagi Cochinensis / Tian Men Dong / 天门冬

Asparagus root works with Ophiopogon to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.