Many swear by the benefits of salt and muscle soak baths, to reduce muscle soreness, inflammation and swelling when recovering from a workout. Inexpensive and available at any local store, muscle soaks seem like a great option to treat muscle soreness after a workout, but these products are often filled with fragrances and ingredients that can harm your vagina.
When placed in water, bath salts break down into magnesium and sulfate. The idea behind it is that once the salt has dissolved in water, you soak your body in the water and it will start to absorb the magnesium through the skin, which allows your muscles to relax and reduces inflammation. This is because magnesium is an essential mineral in our diets and is known to play a huge role in muscle contraction and immune system function.
The problem is, they are often chemically filled with fragrances and toxins, which means that the sensitive mucus membrane of your vulva is left vulnerable to infection.
Bath salts and muscle soaking products can disrupt the delicate balance of your vaginal pH levels, resulting in infections and irritations such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Vagina pH levels help keep infection-causing pathogens away.
A healthy and normal vaginal pH level is typically between 3.8 and 4.5. The chemicals used to make bath salts and muscle soaks look and smell nice, can upset the balance of bacteria used to keep the vagina pH levels on the scale.
So, these products can throw off the pH of your vagina, often leading to an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast, which can lead to irritation. This is however just a risk, and not everyone who uses muscle soaking products will be affected. Some women will experience negative side effects, while others won’t, that’s why it’s important to test them and see how you get on.
What are the common symptoms of infection?
The symptoms include:
- Unusual discharge from the vagina – change in colour or texture
- Itchiness or soreness around the vagina area
- Pain when you urinate or have sex
- Itching, swelling and redness
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
If you experience vaginal irritation and start to display signs of infection, you should make an appointment to see your doctor, as they can provide the best course of treatment. If you are prone to vaginal or urinary tract infections, you’ll want to avoid using these products.
How to relieve muscle aches without affecting your vagina’s pH
Exercise is a crucial part of a healthy and active lifestyle. While it can improve physical and mental health, it can cause sore muscles, which is increasingly common when you try a new method of exercise or increase your intensity. If you experience muscle aches and pains, here are five alternatives to using bath salts and muscle soak products:
- Use an ice pack to reduce inflammation – If the muscle feels warm and there are signs of swelling, wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it on the inflamed area.
- Go for a massage – A massage from a professional will help to relieve muscle tension, soothe aches, and increase blood flow and motion in your joints.
- Take a warm, relaxing bath – A warm soak can help loosen tight muscles and boost blood circulation, providing muscle pain relief.
- Apply heat to the muscle – If you are experiencing muscle aches, try applying heat. This can stimulate blood flow to your muscles to ease tightness and help relieve pain.
- Rest and recover – Taking time off from physical exercise will allow your body the chance to heal itself. The second day after an intense workout, use your muscles lightly (e.g walking) to help speed up the elimination of lactic acid buildup.
Experiencing severe muscle pain during or after a workout could be a sign that you have strained a muscle or obtained a muscle injury. If muscle pain is accompanied by difficulty breathing, high fever, muscle weakness and a stiff neck, contact your doctor immediately.
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