• Fri, Jul 26 - 1:00 pm ET

Condoms Might Be Good For Your Lady-Zone

 

condoms are good for your health

Condoms are good for your health!

Condoms! What can’t they do? They prevent unwanted pregnancies and STIs in spades, they look hilarious on bananas and they make great water balloons in a pinch. A new study from China is suggesting that the contraceptive of all trades may have another awesome effect: condoms help beneficial vaginal microbes (aka good bacteria) flourish and thrive.

The study went a little something like this:

Researchers at Beijing Friendship Hospital recruited 164 healthy, married women in China, between 18 and 45 years old, who were not using hormonal birth control, such as the pill, as their regular method of contraception.

 

Among the participants, 72 were using condoms, 57 were using an intrauterine device (IUD), and 35 were using the so-called rhythm method, in which a couple abstains from sex on the days pregnancyis mostly likely to occur. The researchers found that the population of lactobacillus was significantly higher in the condom group.

The condom-using sexually active women in the study tended to have larger colonies of good bacteria than the women who used other forms of birth control. Researchers focused on lactobacillus which is a group of bacteria that they refer to as the “acidic buffer system.”

According to Live Science, lactobacillus “dominates the natural flora of the vagina for many women” and helps the vagina maintain its average pH of 4.5, “comparable to the acidity of beer or tomato juice.” Lactobacillus is rumored to prevent bacterial vaginosis (an itchy and discharge-y bacterial imbalance in the vagina) and has been linked to a decreased risk of contracting HIV.

The results suggest that condom use helps maintain the vagina’s “natural acidic defenses” often disrupted by the presence of semen which has a natural pH of about 7.0 or 8.0.

So that’s cool, but keep in mind that condoms aren’t perfect and it’s best to be extra careful and maybe pair condoms with another kind of contraceptive.

via LiveScience

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  • CatoGato

    I can add some anecdotal evidence to back this up – I never had vagina problems until I started sleeping with my long-term boyfriend without a condom (I have the implanon implant as my bc). I think it must have disturbed the balance of my vaginal flora. I started going through a vicious cycle of multiple yeast infections then bacterial vaginosis and back to yeast infections. This all went on for about 9 months before I was able to get back to some kind of normal (after sex, I feel stinging/burning at the vaginal opening, no matter how much lube/foreplay I use, and that never happened before this mess started, but I can usually have sex again after 24hrs, just sucks when you want to go multiple rounds!)
    I also had an abnormal pap then a colposcopy for HPV during that time, which may or may not be related because its so hard to know when you contracted it from whom. I’ll fess up that I had had an unprotected 1-night stand about 5 months before we started dating >.< . I developed the abnormal pap/cervical lesions about 6 months after we stopped using condoms, but with virus's abilities to incubate for years even before becoming active, I can't say anything with certainty. It could have just as easily come from my BF as from me. Plus condoms don't always protect you from HPV if you have sex with someone with the active virus because it can be transferred by skin to skin contact in the genital area.

    • CatoGato

      P.S. The HPV (CIN II) cleared up on its own after the colposcopy; PAP smears 3 and 6 months later came back clear.