Getty Images

From bikini line hair removal to warding off UTIs, here are six ways to prep your lady parts.

June 01, 2017

You’re going on vacay, and your vagina is coming with you. From grooming to (safely) skipping your period, there are a few ways you can prep your lady parts, including some that'll help you avoid below-the-belt issues while on holiday. Here, ob-gyns share tips on razor bumps, vacation sex, and more.

Get a super smooth bikini line

Getting rid of hair down there can be tricky. “Shaving can cause irritation, and an infection around the hair follicle called folliculitis,” says ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, MD, author of The Complete A to Z For Your V. For best results, make sure you wash the area first, then apply a shaving cream or mild soap. Always use a new razor and shave in the direction of hair growth, Dr. Dweck says.

Prefer to get a bikini wax instead? Avoid using exfoliants in the area a few days prior, and trim your hair to about a quarter of an inch. If your hair is shorter, it may not come out with the wax, or could lead to ingrown hairs. If your hair is longer, waxing can be more painful. To take the edge off, pop an ibuprofen or aspirin an hour before your appointment. Afterward, dab some hydrocortisone cream on your just-waxed skin to reduce discomfort and redness.

RELATED: 20 Facts Every Woman Must Know About Her Vagina

Consider skipping your period

So you're set to get your period right in the middle of your cruise—ugh. The good news: It is safe to use your birth control to take a holiday from your monthly flow. Just make sure to check in with your MD first: “Because every woman is unique, it’s difficult to make recommendations across the board, so consult with your doctor before changing the timing of your birth control,” says ob-gyn Mache Seibel, MD, a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School. If you're on the pill, your doc may give you the okay to skip the placebo pills and start a new pack right away. On the patch or the ring? Ask about replacing it with a new one immediately instead of waiting a week. 

Take frequent pee breaks

A UTI would put a serious damper on your getaway. One way to prevent the irritating and painful infection: Make plenty of pit stops when you're roadtripping. Or get up regularly to use the restroom on long flights. “Holding urine overextends your bladder, and gives bacteria more time to grow, setting you up for a UTI,” says Dr. Seibel. It’s also important to remember to pee before and after sex, to flush the urethra of bacteria.

Pack the right lube

Speaking of sex, vacation sex is the best kind. If you regularly use lube, don't forget to pack a bottle, so you’re not forced to buy whatever brand the local store at your destination happens to stock. Scented products can be irritating and throw off the bacterial balance in your vagina, warns Dr. Seibel.

Change after you swim

Lounging around in a damp bikini bottom produces the perfect warm, moist environment for yeast to thrive, putting you at risk for a yeast infection, says Dr. Seibel. “Do yourself a favor and remove your suit after you’re done swimming, and put on a cover up or change clothes,” he says. If you’re just hanging out back at your hotel, cotton undies are the best for minimizing yeast growth.

To get our top stories delivered to you inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Protect your parts

Maybe you are headed to one of those “clothing optional” rooftop pools in Vegas, or plan to skinny-dip on a secluded beach. If so, don't forget the SPF! Your pubic region and nipples probably rarely—if ever—see the sun. Cover that newly-exposed skin with plenty of sunscreen, just as you do on the rest of your body. And re-apply ever two hours.