Why Using Condoms Can Help You Have A Healthier Vagina (Really)

January 14, 2018

No glove, no love.

If you’re in a long-term committed relationship, chances are you did away with condoms around the same time you gave up wearing makeup for your partner every day and hiding all evidence you had bodily functions. (Hey, the fairytale’s gotta end some time.)

But, as it turns out, the humble barrier contraceptive most of us have at some point discreetly toted around in our handbags, is useful for more than preventing STIs and pregnancy when you’re in the throes of single life.

The perks of protection

Research suggests unprotected sex may upset your vagina’s pH levels, by introducing new bacteria to its delicate ecosystem, where healthy bacteria, like lactobacilli, live. Your vagina typically has an acidity level of 3.5 to 4.5, which is essential for preventing overgrowth of the bad kind of bacteria – the stuff responsible for causing odor, irritation and infection. And, a new study published in the journal PLoS One found condom users have the highest levels of lactobacilli, compared to women who used an IUD or the withdrawal method.

Acidity is also the reason for the amount of lactobacilli in the vagina which produce bacteriocins, hydrogen peroxide, and lactic acid to help lower and balance the vaginal pH. And as there are many contraceptive methods practiced, condoms might be the answer to making your vagina happier and healthier.

A case for wearing your raincoat

A study from researchers at Beijing Friendship Hospital in China pooled women and found sexually active women using condoms had larger colonies of beneficial microbes— specifically lactobacilli— in their vaginas compared to other women who used different birth control methods.

As such, it’s suggested regular use of condoms can help prevent yeast infections, UTIs and bacterial vaginosis (a pelvic inflammatory disease that can increase your risk of infertility). Condom users also help keep semen out of the vagina, which has a natural pH of 7.0-8.0 and tends to disrupt the vagina’s pH.

While condom users are helping boost lactobacilli, the same condom should not be worn when switching between anal, oral, and vaginal sex, as this can bring harmful bacteria into the vagina.

A healthy vagina means a happier sex life, so it might be time to reconsider how you go about your sexual activity and begin browsing the condom aisle in your local pharmacy again.

Images via shutterstock.com and giphy.com.

Comment: Do you use condoms with your partner?

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