Why? Because your vagina is a mucous membrane which means it is uber-capable of absorbing anything you put into it. Scary, right? Especially when you think about the fact that the non-organic tampons that you can buy in most stores are made of synthetic fibres or cotton grown with the use of heavy chemicals and bleached with chlorine. Some chemicals used (including dioxins) are known endocrine disruptors, which have been linked to vulvitis (itching and burning of the vulva) endometriosis and even cancer. Certified Organic tampons are made with organic cotton. A 100% natural fibre, grown without pesticides that is then processed free of dyes, fragrances or other chemicals. Australia and NZ regulate the absorbency of all tampons to keep them consistent, so you can rest assured that an organic tampon with SUPER absorbency is just as effective as a synthetic chemically dyed one. You can even get organic tampons delivered to your door on subscription to ensure you are not caught short. Use the code #LADYSTARTUP to get a discounted subscription at Bleed for You, a local company delivering organic, ethically certified tampons AND giving 50% of its profits back to important women’s charities like Share the Dignity. Tampons to save the world!
None of us look forward to lying back and having a cold speculum up there but there’s no denying it is too important to miss. Regular cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer. Detected early, it has around a 90% survival rate, but once cervical cancer spreads that success rate drops to a mere 17%. The good news is that cervical screening has changed in Australia. Late last year, the Pap test was been replaced with a new 5-year (used to be 2) Cervical Screening Test. If you’ve had what used to be known as a PAP test, the new test feels just the same. The only difference is that instead of checking for changes to your cervical cells it tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that causes the vast majority of cervical cancers. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and the new test is expected to protect up to 30% more women. So that’s less testing, for a better result. YAY!
NOTE - If you’ve never had a PAP, BOOK IN FOR THE NEW TEST NOW. If you have had one, your first Cervical Screening Test is due two years after your last Pap test.
Your vagina is alive with bacteria that keep your vagina healthy and prevent annoying issues like yeast infections. Snacking on live culture acidophilus yoghurt helps boost good bacteria down there, but douching or ‘cleansing’ can easily put this sensitive biome out of balance. Various studies including this one have shown that chemicals can disrupt the balance of your natural bacteria, causing inflammation and altering the immune environment. This can put you at increased risk of infection, STD’s and pelvic inflammatory disease. Be careful with your choice of lubricants if you use them. Australian company Sliquid makes Personal Lubricants that are 100% Vegan-friendly & cruelty-free with 100% Recyclable packaging. JO Organic Lubricant is a water-based lubricant made with 100% natural ingredients sourced from certified organic farms (glycerine free, paraben free and contains no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives). Condom users can look to GLYDE for organic, vegan, chemical free condoms (the only brand literally certified by The Vegan Society).
Knowing your cycle is an important way to keep an eye on your reproductive health and in case you didn’t already know it - there’s a huge number of apps out there for period monitoring. Period Tracker is a great straightforward calendar option where you can add details day by day – but the range of options is impressive. You can read more here if you want the lowdown on the complete best free period apps of 2017.
Yep. It’s true. It turns out that doing a kegel work out really is the way to keep things working properly down there. What’s a kegel? Kegels are special exercises designed to strengthen your vaginal pelvic floor muscles, kind of like sit-ups for your vag. Do them and you will not only achieve stronger, mind-blowing orgasms but also prevent incontinence, (something that too often comes for women post-childbirth and with age). There’s even a nifty little tool you can purchase to help called an Elvie trainer. Yep. Put little Elvie inside, get out your smartphone, connect the app and squeeze your way through 5 minutes of Kegel exercise games. And if the tech aspect feels like a bit of a downer, you can achieve similar results using Geisha or Ben-Wa balls (don’t pretend you didn’t read 50 Shares of Grey). Shiri Zinn’s erotic Glass Love Eggs are almost a work of art they’re so beautiful. You can find them online at Vavven a fab Aussie company committed to (in their own words) “creating philanthropy through orgasm”. Their Body Safe Sex Toys are ethically sourced and the company donates a third of their profits to NGO’s helping others gain sexual and reproductive health rights. As it says on their website, ‘we believe the sex can be dirty, but the values must be clean’ and who can argue with that?
Happy New Years!