How condoms keep your vagina healthy [source]
You already know that condoms are pretty much one of the best inventions ever. But they aren’t just good at shielding you from some STDs and being an effective method of birth control. Turns out, condoms can also help keep your vagina healthy, according to new Chinese study published in the journal PLoS One.
Previous research has shown that unprotected sex messes with your vagina’s acidity, which makes it hard for healthy bacteria, like lactobacilli, to survive. So to find out whether non-hormonal contraception had any bearing on lactobacilli levels, researchers at the Beijing Friendship Hospital examined 164 sexually active women who used either condoms, the copper IUD, or the withdrawal methods of birth control. Compared to the women who used an IUD or withdrawal, condom users had the highest levels of lactobacilli.
Why? Study authors say that having sex with a condom provides a barrier that keeps semen from affecting your natural pH level — which means the good bacteria can stick around. And that’s a great thing because healthy levels of lactobacilli can help prevent yeast infections, UTIs, and bacterial vaginosis (a pelvic inflammatory disease that can increase your risk of infertility). It can even help protect you against more serious conditions like STDs, HIV, and preterm delivery.
Also worth noting: Previous research suggests that, because lactobacilli are regulated by estrogen, taking hormonal birth control — like the Pill, the patch, or a hormonal IUD — is another way to help keep your defenses up. But hormonal birth control isn’t for everyone, of course — so it’s good to know that wrapping it up can also help keep your lady parts in good health.