Summertime, Swimsuits, Sweat, Oh My! Here’s What Women Should Know About All of That

Summer is no longer fast approaching, summer is here.

And while many of us are excited for the warm weather, hangouts by the pool, and more fun in the sun, as a woman, there are certain things you need to be aware of; especially when it comes to your health.

Did you know that the mix of summer heat, sweat, and swimsuits can lead to a greater chance of experiencing bacterial vaginosis? It’s true.

As Dr. Erica Montes, an Organon Health Partner & Board-Certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist, tells Mamas Uncut, “extra sweat due to the summer heat or spending time in your wet bathing suit can cause bacteria growth which may lead to vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV).” 

In fact, despite summer just getting started, Dr. Montes, who is based in Arizona, reveals she is “already seeing an uptick in BV cases as a result of the summer heat and swimsuit season.”

Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, “is the most common vaginal infection among women of reproductive age,” Dr. Montes tells Mamas Uncut. “BV is the result of an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the vagina. This overgrowth disrupts the vaginal environment, leaving some women with symptoms like vaginal odor or increased discharge that can appear thin or milky.”


But while it’s most common among women of reproductive age, it can occur at any age, making it important for parents of girls to know what to look for as well.

“As the days get warmer, everyone is prone to getting sweaty, even down there,” Dr. Montes explains. “I suggest to my patients to immediately change or shower after a sweaty work out and try not to sit in your wet bathing suit for extended periods of time to avoid bacterial growth.”

Dr. Montes further explains that it’s also important what type of underwear women and girls wear in the summer as well. She recommends “full coverage underwear that has a breathable fabric, such as cotton.” 


“By wearing tight-fitting underwear or nylon, moisture and sweat can build up and cause an imbalance of bacteria which can lead to BV or other vaginal infections.”

But don’t go grabbing the popular “body deodorants” and think everything is fine.

As Dr. Montes warns, “the vaginal area is sensitive, and I would urge women to consult with their healthcare provider before using body deodorants as they can disrupt the natural bacteria in the vagina, possibly leading to infection.”

“One of my favorite lines is ‘your vagina should not smell like the inside of a Bath and Body Works store,’” Dr. Montes explains, adding that body sweat and body odor are completely normal. It’s nothing to feel embarrassed about.


“Sometimes when our body experiences changes, it will have an odor. This doesn’t mean that you’re unclean or that you’re necessarily doing anything wrong. When your body experiences these changes, you should talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you have.”

So how do women know if they have BV, a yeast infection or just normal vaginal odor?

Dr. Montes: “It’s very common for women to mistake their BV symptoms for a yeast infection, however, the symptoms for each tend to be different. 

With BV, your discharge will be thin or milky with a strong odor, which may be stronger or more noticeable after intercourse. If you have a yeast infection, your discharge will tend to be thick and odorless. 

Everyone’s vaginal odor is unique and if you are experiencing unusual-for-you vaginal changes, I recommend that you speak to your healthcare provider.”


And how is BV treated?

Dr. Montes: “There are both oral and topical medications available for BV and two-thirds of BV cases will need medical attention. There’s an additional treatment option that uses clindamycin, an established antibiotic for the treatment of BV, available called XACIATO

XACIATO is a colorless single-dose vaginal gel that can be applied any time of day and is formulated with the goal of limiting leakage and increasing time spent in place in the vagina.”

And is there anything that can be done holistically that can help prevent the infections from occurring?

Dr. Montes: “General hygiene precautions such as avoiding trapped moisture near the vagina by removing sweaty clothes and not staying in a wet swimsuit for extended periods of time, wearing breathable fabrics and avoiding douching as well as scented laundry detergents and soaps can help prevent infections from occurring. 

In my practice, I sometimes see women who’ve tried alternate methods and eventually need to come into the office. It’s important to remember two-thirds of BV cases will need medical attention, and treatment of BV requires antibiotics that are prescribed by your physician. 

The most important thing is to make sure you see your healthcare provider right away if you are experiencing unusual-for-you vaginal discharge or odor. Having an honest conversation and getting an appropriate-for-you treatment plan from your healthcare provider can get you back to having fun this summer!”


About Mamas Uncut

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