We know that you’ve got a million things going and taking care of your vaginal health is probably not at the top of your to-do list, but we consistently hear from our members that they want more information on vaginal health and feminine hygiene. So, we managed to grab some time with the CEO and founder of Love Wellness, Lauren Bosworth, for some advice on how to take care down there!
Founded in 2015, Love Wellness focuses on creating total body care products for women, from gut and vaginal health to hormonal and intimate health. The inspiration for Love Wellness came from Lauren’s personal experience: after dealing with recurring infections and multiple visits to the OB/GYN, Lauren ended up spending a lot of time in the personal care aisle of the pharmacy. It was there that she realized the feminine care products were really lacking from a messaging perspective (apparently, vaginas are supposed to smell like flowers)—and they had a ton of ingredients! When her doctors put her on a more holistic approach, she saw an opportunity to create a new kind of feminine care product that could help women, but without the confusing laundry list of unrecognizable ingredients and negative branding.
We’re big fans of Love Wellness—not just for their products, but how they’re also trying to de-stigmatize women’s health issues (like vaginal health) with their messaging and branding. Here, we speak with Lauren about the taboos of vaginas and how to establish a personal care routine that’s right for you.
Pill Club: Thanks to marketing, women have long been socialized to think that vaginas are supposed to smell a certain way. Why might using things like scented washes and wipes be harmful?
Love Wellness: Many drugstore brands that exist were not created with women’s bodies in mind. They use harsh ingredients that can negatively affect the balance of vaginal pH and natural bacteria, which can lead to infections and skin breakdown. What’s worse, you’re told that you need to “fix” or “mask” the scent of your vagina to make it smell fragrant, like perfume. That’s why we decided to use clean, fragrance-free, good-for-you ingredients that are designed to maintain and balance vaginal pH.
Pill Club: What advice would you give women who are looking for products that might provide some type of freshness for their vaginas—what ingredients should they look for?
Love Wellness: Clean ingredients! You want to avoid anything that might disrupt the pH of your vagina. Probiotics are super helpful as well when it comes to vaginal tract health.
Pill Club: What’s considered a “healthy” vaginal pH balance? What can affect your vaginal pH levels? And how do you know if you’re “maintaining” them?
Love Wellness: Typically 3.8-4.5. This is in the acidic range, and it’s that acid created from good bacteria that fights against the “bad” bacteria that could be detrimental to your vaginal health. The less acidic your vaginal pH is, the more prone it will be to infections. Things that can cause an imbalance (in other words, your vaginal pH to increase) include semen, prolonged antibiotics, douching, UTIs, and your period (make sure to change your tampons regularly!). One way you can maintain a normal pH is by taking a probiotic—which is full of the good bacteria, lactobacillus—which helps promote the protective acidic vaginal environment.
Pill Club: For people who are new to learning about and maintaining vaginal health, what’s an easy, low maintenance thing to start with?
Love Wellness: Start with a probiotic that contains lactobacillus—it’s the good bacteria found in your vagina—so it helps to support your vaginal flora and improve your vaginal health. I use one of our products called Good Girl Probiotics, a probiotic that supports both vaginal and urinary tract health. This is the first step to maintaining overall vaginal health!
Pill Club: What’s one thing you do to maintain your own vaginal health that you’d like to share with Pill Club’s patients?
Love Wellness: I love using one of our products called The Killer. It’s a boric acid suppository that’s great for balancing yeast and bacteria. You may not realize when your vagina needs a little TLC, but if you notice that your discharge has a different color or texture, or if there’s any itchiness, burning, pain, or change in smell, those could all be early warning signs. The Killer is literally just one ingredient and works wonders! I find that it helps me get back on track.
Pill Club: Lastly, what’s one myth or misconception about vaginas that you’d like to clear up?
Love Wellness: I’d love to clear up the confusion around vaginal cleansers. You should never use a vaginal cleanser inside of your vagina—they’re for external use only on the vulva! If you’re using them inside your vagina, it can decrease the naturally-occurring bacteria and remove the self-cleaning capability of your vagina. Also, pick one that’s made with clean ingredients and made without any fragrance, as the skin down there is very sensitive.
We also bagged a 25% discount from Love Wellness—visit their website and use code PILLCLUB at checkout!