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Have You Ever "Spring Cleaned" Your Vagina Before?

Spring is the perfect time to let your vagina...bloom.

Women's Health

Whew. It's already March and I'm assuming that a lot of you are asking the same question about 2021 that I am—where is the time going? Since the 20th of this month marks the official beginning of spring, I thought I would do a few articles surrounding spring cleaning. As you can tell by the title, this one is gonna be about spring cleaning your vagina.

I know. It might sound a little funny at first but trust me when I say that it's absolutely not clickbait. While I'm hoping that cleaning your vulva (you don't need to clean your actual vagina because it's self-cleaning) is a regular occurrence, what this is about to explore are ways that you can get to the baseboards of that area, so to speak. Like, you know how when you spring clean your house, you clean the baseboards? This is going to offer up 10 ways to give your vagina some extra special attention as you head into warmer weather and maybe even some "spring fever" opportunities. #wink

1. Up Your Vitamin C Intake

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When it comes to what you can actually take in order to obtain vaginal health, probiotics are typically what come up the most often. They provide your body with more "good bacteria" so that the bad bacteria doesn't eventually lead to something like a yeast infection. Well, if there is a second place of things to consume to keep your vagina on the up and up, I think Vitamin C is the way to go. Not only is it loaded with antioxidants that can help to strengthen your immune system and keep free radicals at bay, Vitamin C has the ability to increase the acidity of your vagina so that harmful bacteria is not able to thrive. You can get this particular nutrient into your system by taking a supplement or you can eat foods like berries, peppers, broccoli, potatoes and citrus fruit to get a good dose of it into your system.

2. Take Some Chaste Tree Berry

If you've never heard of this particular herb before, don't feel bad. I do my best to share certain ones that don't come up in normal conversation because many have some really impressive health benefits.

The awesome thing about Chaste Tree Berry is it can actually increase progesterone levels in your body. What's cool about that is the end result can lead to more regulated (and less heavy) periods, less PMS, a decrease in menopausal-related symptoms and, it can even help to increase your fertility levels (if you're trying to conceive) too.

That said, do keep in mind that herbs aren't candy. Some are quite potent. So, if this is something that you want to add to your regular diet, run it by your doctor first. Just make sure to avoid using chaste tree bark if you're pregnant. Also, it's important to keep in mind that it could take anywhere from 3-6 months before you start seeing some significant results.

3. Get Some New Cotton Undies

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Tell the truth, shame the devil. When's the last time you bought some new underwear? If it was this time last year, that's close to being ridiculous because we're actually supposed to cop new pairs every 6-12 months. When you think about the discharge, period blood and even tiny bits of fecal matter that panties collect over time, you should want to get some fresh ones, anyway. As far as which ones, fabric-wise, are best for your vagina's overall health and well-being, breathable fabrics (like organic cotton) are the lick. As far as the kind/cut that you should go with, a lot of that is totally up to you. Just make sure to keep in mind that thongs can irritate your va-jay-jay and also trigger an infection over time and sometimes boy shorts are too much fabric. Bikini cut and hipsters are a happy medium. Please get the right size, though, because there is no point in having a breathable fabric if your panties are tight AF.

4. Balance Your pH Level

As far as spring cleaning goes, one of the best things that you can do for your vagina is make sure that its pH balance is right where it should be. For the record, a healthy vagina is supposed to be somewhat acidic and hovering somewhere around 3.8 and 4.5. The reason why it needs to be acidic is because that's what helps to keep the bacteria from turning into some sort of overgrowth. And what are the signs that your vagina is way more alkaline than it needs to be? If there's a dramatic change in color, texture or smell, those are dead giveaways.

One way to know for sure (if you don't have the money or time to see your doctor) is to take an at-home pH test. If it is a little "off", try taking a probiotic supplement, eating more fermented (like pickles and yogurt) and sulfur-based (like garlic and onions) foods, eat less sugar and lower your stress levels. If nothing improves in about a week, make an appointment to see your physician anyway. You may have some sort of infection that requires extra testing and/or a prescribed antibiotic.

5. Upgrade Your Sanitary Stuff

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When it comes to my personal vaginal health and, what I call, "period convenience", something that has totally changed my life for the better is a menstrual cup. But if you would still prefer to go with tampons and/or pads, another vaginal spring cleaning tip that I would recommend is going with organic brands. Not only are they free of potentially irritating things like pesticides and dye that could lead to recurring yeast infections and BV or even certain diseases up the road, organic brands can actually help to lessen period cramps and prevent skin issues such as dermatitis.

If you need a little help in choosing which brands are best, Glowing Nest did a review on organic pads that you can check out by clicking here and Influenster did a review on organic tampons that you can check out here.

6. Clean Your Clitoral Hood

I've shared before that I once read about a woman whose clitoral hood was so swollen and irritated that her doctor ended up having to cut her hood off. Eww. The problem was there was so much hair, dried discharge, lint and overall gunk in there that the extra skin had to be removed in order to get it all out (whew). It got to that point because she didn't clean her clitoral hood.

I know it's not really something that we think about a lot but just to put everything into perspective—how would you feel if your man was uncircumcised and never cleaned his foreskin? A clitoris is a lot like a little penis in the sense that it's got a ton of nerve endings and it gets erect when it's aroused. And the hood of it? That is the foreskin. So yeah, once a month or so, dip a Q-tip in some olive, sweet almond or coconut oil, very gently push the hood back (as far as it will comfortably go) and rub the tip in order to dislodge what may be underneath. If your clitoris has been itching lately and you're pretty sure it's not an infection of some sort, it needing to be "spring cleaned" is probably the problem.

7. Schedule a Wax Appointment

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It was literally this year that I started waxing. It started with my eyebrows because, for some reason, my threader seemed to be on a mission to thin mine out as much as possible. Yet as I became more comfortable with my totally bomb waxer, I decided that I was tired of literally bending over backwards to try and remove the stray hairs along parts of the inside of my butt (including what she calls the "coin purse" which is right where the crease of the butt begins). I had her do it instead. And man! It has been life-changing. It wasn't painful (just a little uncomfortable, but it's over really fast) and it lasts for weeks on end.

She's been trying to talk me into a Brazilian. I'm good on that. I like having grown woman hairs around my vagina. But what I will say is, as far as spring cleaning your vagina goes, if you want to tame some hairs or remove them altogether so that you can feel really clean and fresh down below, making a wax appointment is 1000 percent the way to go.

8. Condition Your Pubic Hair

Question. When's the last time you conditioned your pubic hair? I wouldn't be surprised in the least if it's something that you haven't exactly considered before but why wouldn't you do it every once in a while? Hair, anywhere, that is deeply moisturized can end up feeling smoother and being so much easier to manage. And in this case, if you happen to go with a conditioner that is high in vitamins A and E, it can help to unclog pores and prevent ingrown hairs.

The key is to make sure that you only apply the conditioner only where your pubic hair is and that you don't get any inside of your vagina (because that could irritate it). Let the conditioner sit for about 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. If you do this for about a week, you will notice a really big difference. (Feel free to add some Vitamin E oil at the end for some additional sheen.)

9. Sanitize Your Sex Toys

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If you've got a stash of sex toys, now is a good a time as any to give them a really thorough cleaning. Make sure that you go with an antibacterial kind that is unscented because that will significantly decrease the chances of your clean toys irritating you once you're ready to use them again. If your toy happens to vibrate, wash it with a clean washcloth. If it doesn't, you can run it underneath some warm water and then clean it with the cloth. If your toys happen to be made out of glass, silicone or stainless-steel, you can actually boil them for 3-5 minutes in order to completely sterilize them. In any case, once you're done cleaning them, you can let them air dry.

10. Get Some “Naked in the Bed” Bedding

Definitely, one of the best things that you could ever do for your vagina is sleep in the buff. It's just one more way for your vagina to breathe since it's been cooped up in layers of clothing all day long. That said, one thing that a lot of people don't really think about is the kind of bedding that they should sleep naked in. Natural fibers are definitely the way to go. Organic cotton is great. So is bamboo. They are both breathable, soft and able to keep your body cool throughout the night. Hey, new sheets are supposed to be purchased every 2-3 years, so in the spirit of spring cleaning your vagina, why not get a couple of new sets this month? You'll adore it and your vagina will even more. Happy cleaning!

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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