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Expert chat: Can organic cotton period care help prevent vaginal thrush?

We’ve been chatting with Kathie Bishop, Vaginal Health Herbalist and founder of Into the Wylde, all about vaginal thrush and organic cotton period care.

Are you experiencing vaginal thrush or irritation? Many of us know that vaginal thrush is uncomfortable, especially when it keeps coming back. It’s important to understand what can be causing or triggering it as a starting point. Vaginal Health Herbalist, Kathie Wylde, specialises in helping women with recurrent thrush and is here to give us the lowdown 👇

First things first, what is thrush?

Kathie: “Thrush is caused by a fungal overgrowth in the vagina. In most cases, this overgrowth is Candida albicans. Candida normally lives happily side-by-side with your naturally occurring bacterial colony in both 70% of people’s digestive system and vaginas. When something triggers its overgrowth, it’s this which causes the classic symptoms of thrush. These symptoms include itching, irritation, soreness. Another symptom is white discharge, which is classically described as being like cottage cheese with a yeasty smell.”

What can trigger vaginal thrush?

Kathie: “Many of the women I speak to have their own individual triggers for getting a thrush flare-up. But there are several magic keys that seem to affect all women who experience recurrent thrush. This may come as a surprise, but underwear is often one of them.

In the 21st century, we’ve got so many options to cover our nether regions with. There’s the sexy but often scratchy synthetic underwear options, never-let-you-down comfy pants and more specific options like shape wear. However, if you suffer from thrush regularly I would always recommend sticking with organic and natural cotton underwear.”

When should you see a GP about vaginal thrush?

Kathie: “If this is the first time you have had vaginal thrush please go to your GP to get it diagnosed. This will ensure that it’s actually thrush you are suffering from. If your symptoms are like the above but differ slightly, I strongly recommend also going to see your GP, as you may be suffering from something different. Differentiations could be things such as a fishy smell or grey/green discharge. Don’t be afraid to go to your GP! It’s much better to get it treated the right way.”

How can I help prevent vaginal thrush?

Kathie: “As vaginal thrush is a fungal infection it thrives on warm, damp environments. And this is where organic cotton comes in. Organic cotton is a natural fibre, coming from an organically grown cotton plant. Natural fibres have a low chance of irritating the skin. As a natural fibre, organic cotton is also breathable. This means it allows airflow between its weave. It is also wickable, meaning it helps to take moisture (wick) away from the skin. Both factors make organic cotton the perfect choice to use when you tend to suffer from recurrent thrush, as it helps keep a damp environment as fresh and dry as possible.

Recommending organic cotton period care 🌸

Kathie: “As a Medical Herbalist specialising in helping women who are struggling with chronic vaginal issues like BV or Thrush, I discuss period products a lot with my clients! It’s an important choice to make. The skin of the vagina and vulva are some of the most absorbent places on the body. A high percentage of the chemicals we introduce there get into the blood stream and can affect our vaginal microbiome too. Team that with the fact that there is currently no legislation around ingredient labelling for period wear and we have a situation where people are often in the dark about what’s actually in the products they’re using. So for me and my clients, organic is the best choice.

Personally, TOTM’s Super pads are the only ones for me – they are incredibly soft (very important info – no chaffing!) and one of the things I like in particular is the fact that they stay firmly in place, without the sticky strip going all the way to either end of the pad. I love recommending TOTM to my clients because of their ethics and transparency, but also because their organic cotton is wickable – meaning that they are breathable products, allowing any moisture to ‘wick’ away from the area – exactly what you need when you’re trying to stop the cycle of thrush. Thank you so much for all you do TOTM, from de-stigmatising periods to making products that are better for our bits and for the planet too!”

A huge thank you to Kathie for giving us a better understanding of vaginal thrush, the potential triggers and how organic cotton period care can potentially help prevent re-occurring thrush. As Kathie advises above, if you have concerns about vaginal thrush, please seek advice from your GP or health practitioner. Ready to give organic and natural period care a try? Shop our range here.

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