Summer means beaches, bikinis, and enjoying the sunshine!
Well, it should…. but, thanks to life’s little quirks, it can also mean a thrush infection. Boo!
Thrush is pretty common – around 75% of women will suffer at least one episode in their lifetime. And according to the 819 women in our Kolorex survey* who had experienced vaginal thrush over the last two years, just over two thirds (68.7%) found themselves battling a bout of thrush sometime between October to March, in those warmer months. Just when we want to go on holiday!
One out of three said they weren’t comfortable with consulting a GP about their thrush with 23% of these women experience recurring episodes of thrush 2-3 times a year or more, especially during summer.
Don’t let your thrush go unchecked this summer. We’re here to explain how to survive (and hopefully avoid!) thrush over summer.
What is thrush?
Almost 40% of women in our survey didn’t know that their thrush was caused by a type of yeast. Although this yeast normally lives in and on our bodies without causing too much trouble, it can sometimes grow out of control – especially in warm, humid conditions. Thrush especially loves summer!
Thrush can have a bunch of unpleasant symptoms, including intense vaginal itching and a thick white discharge – kind of like cottage cheese. You may also notice a yeasty smell, irritation and inflammation around the vagina, and a burning sensation during intercourse or when urinating.
Now – here’s how to keep thrush at bay!
1. Let your ladybits breathe
Summer means sweating, and wearing tight clothing will only keep your lady zone warm and moist: perfect breeding conditions for thrush. Wear loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibres, like flowy skirts and cotton pants. This will allow air to circulate around your nether regions, so it stays cooler and drier. It’s also a good idea to change out of wet togs or sweaty workout gear as soon as possible.
2. Go for 100% cotton underwear
Silk or lacy knickers might look sexy, but they won’t be doing your vagina any favours! Natural fibres – such as cotton or bamboo – are light and breathable, and better able to absorb excess moisture. This helps keep things fresh and dry for longer. And we don’t mean granny panties – there are plenty of cute, 100% cotton knickers available these days!
Changing your period pads regularly is also important. These may be made of cotton, but they can hold excess moisture right where you don’t want it. Consider using a menstrual cup or tampons during the hotter months.
3. Swap ice-creams for natural yoghurt
Sure, all love a good ice cream on a hot day – but yeast loves it even more. But what yeast *doesn’t* love is unsweetened yoghurt – and that’s just as good a treat!
Yogurt is a good source of Lactobacillus acidophilus, a type of friendly bacteria that lives naturally in the vagina, and can help to maintain healthy pH levels. Frozen yoghurt is a super summer snack, and even better served with nuts and berries! Try coconut yoghurt if you’re dairy-free.
4. Use a pH-balanced vaginal wash
While washing your vulva with soap might seem like a good way to keep it clean, normal soaps and body washes are often far too alkaline and harsh for this delicate area. They may even make thrush worse by upsetting the natural pH balance.
Instead, use a gentle, pH-balanced wash specifically designed for ladybits, like Kolorex® Intimate Wash. This soap-free formula is made with the herbal extract Kolorex® Horopito and aloe vera to soothe, cleanse, and freshen your intimate areas.
Just remember to wash only the vulva (the area outside your body) and not actually *inside* your vagina.
5. Take a Horopito supplement
Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) is an endemic New Zealand plant that grows in our majestic rainforests. This incredible plant has developed a unique ability for surviving in damp, dark conditions, which makes it great for supporting vaginal health.
6. Support your immune system
Maintaining a robust immune system is key to keeping thrush under control! You can help boost your natural immune function by eating a healthy diet rich in superfoods, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of rest. Get a daily dose of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin!) by enjoying the sunshine every day, and hydrating with fresh, filtered water.
A healthy gut microflora will also help keep your vagina microflora in good shape!
And, although it’s easier said than done, try not to stress! Stress bumps up your levels of cortisol, which can suppress the immune response. Take some time out over summer to let your hair down, get into nature, and enjoy being you!
Remember #loveyourlady bits this summer and follow these six simple tips.
*Usage and Attitudes Study of Vaginal Thrush Sufferers: by Focus Insights was commissioned by Kolorex in June 2021