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Exercising & Genital Care

Spring brings with it a renewed energy for exercising, indoors or outdoors.  Swimming, cycling, Zumba-ing, running, power walking, etc., — all sporting activities should include proper genital care to prevent irritation.  It would be a shame to forgo working out because of the fear of ‘how will my genitals/vulva/vagina react…’

For water sports, you’d want to consider the drying effect of treated (chemicals) water in pools or salty waters in the ocean.  Using a vaginal moisturizer (i.e. Replens, RepHresh, Vagisil Moisturizer, Luvena, etc.) at bedtime post-swim is an easy solution.  You may also want to avoid sitting for hours in a hot, sweaty bathing suit, a dark and moist environment that may be a breeding ground for a yeast infection.

If your choice activity includes sitting on a surface for a long while, such as cycling, biking, horseback riding, rowing, gym machines, etc., you may want to prevent chafing or friction irritations.  The key is to apply a barrier ointment (i.e. Aquaphor Healing ointment) between the genital lips and around the clitoris, and even along the groin folds.  By the way, this is also a great tip for males to prevent testicular chafing.  On very hot and sweaty days, some may opt to escalate the protection by combining the barrier ointment with Balmex (a diaper rash cream that is made of zinc oxide), or a newer product by Balmex called Multi-Purpose Healing ointment.

Other activities that will also benefit from using a barrier ointment are those where the genital lips may rub against each other such as during walking, running, aerobics, etc.  Male athletes will often apply it on their nipples to avoid chafing and bleeding because of rubbing against their running top.

Lastly, if you are menopausal or a cancer patient: your decreased estrogen level makes it even more imperative to take good care of your dry, thinned out, sensitive genitals during your workouts!

About The Author

vaginismus specialist Dr. Ditza Katz team member Women's Therapy Center

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