Joyous Blog

No-Nos and Yessirees for your hoo-hoo

Okay boys, this post isn't for you... you can stop reading right now so you don't get the heebeejeebees on me. Ladies: You deserve to know the truth about your hoo-hoo, otherwise known as your "lady-parts" and how to keep the temple as healthy and happy as possible.

Please please please share with your girlfriends, sister, mom and daughter.

1. Avoid plastic tampons and pads (sanitary napkins).

How on earth did we ever think that sticking plastisized substances that are chlorine bleached, contain nearly all synthetic materials, latex and petrochemicals inside our body was a good idea? If you use the most common brands of tampons on the market, then you are definitely being exposed to these substances. Care about the environment? Every year, billions of plastic pads and tampon applicators are disposed of. Most of these pads are made from over 90% crude oil plastic which goes on to pollute global environments forever. But you can choose NOT to use them and instead use this brand of natural tampons and pads: http://www.natracare.com/p20/en-GB/Natracare-Products.aspx or there's the Diva Cup.

2. Please do not over-wash the lady-parts with scented soaps or douches or squirt (get your mind out of the gutter) weird solutions to cleanse the insides. 

You have a very delicate balance of good bacteria and the pH level doesn't like being messed around with by chemicals! Further, over-zealous washing can irritate the skin. When the tissue becomes agitated or raw, bad bacteria is more likely to stick there.

Here's the deal: If you stink, all the douching and washing in the world is not going to help (assuming you regularly wash down there) and it upsets the natural delicate balance of bacteria and pH level. You need to get the stink out by following a good diet rich in wholesome foods, avoid refined sugar,  processed carbs, bad fats, drink lemon and water and of course, avoid your food allergies/sensitivities. I write about beauty from the inside out a lot on my blog and the same rule applies here. Create a healthy hoo-hoo from the inside out. For more on this, you may actually need a complete nutrition-makeover.

3. Avoid wearing synthetic underwear.

Have you ever wondered what your underwear are made of? How can your hoo-hoo breathe and detoxify if it's being suffocated by nylon, rayon and acrylic. 100% cotton is breathable and kind to your lady parts. Want to take it one step further? Then invest in organic cotton undies or even hemp. Oh dear, now I'm sounding really granola here. Look I don't suggest you wear hay-or grass-like undies. But at the bare minimum, if you suffer from recurrent yeast or UTI's then definitely read what materials your undies are made from and choose wisely next time you are at the lingerie store. Save those rayon undies for a special occasion.

4. Spermicides and commercial lube.

Oh dear... spermicides are absolutely horrendous for your lady-parts. You may have noticed this first-hand already and chosen to avoid condoms with these chemicals. Complaints from the most common chemical in spermicides (Nonoxynol-9) has been reported to include irritation, itching, or the sensation of burning of the sex organs (either partner), UTI's, yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.  As for lube, if you must use it, then use organic coconut oil. No joke here! It's natural, chemical free and smells lovely. However, please note if you are hormonally balanced, attracted your partner and not taking any medications (including the Birth Control Pill = BCP) the need for lube should be next to never.

5. Don't put perfume near your hoo-hoo and avoid scented/printed toilet paper.

Again, this is a delicate tissue and there's an even more delicate balance of healthy bacteria that doesn't like being invaded by chemicals in fragrance or ink. These chemicals set the stage of a skin reaction, so they are best avoided.

6. Do your kegels!

Weak pelvic muscles can cause incontinence and decrease your sexual pleasure. How do you remember to do them? Easy - do them while you are driving, everytime you hit a stop light, do your kegels or each time you urinate, stop mid-flow, hold for a second and then release.

7. Condoms - so many choices, so little time!

If you are not on the BCP, then condoms are the most common form of birth control. If you've ever purchased domes for your guy, you know there are more choices than thongs at a lingerie store. Let's break it down:

Latex: The most common material condoms are made from. Many ladies find they develop allergies to latex. When that happens, the second most common material is polyurethane.

Polyurethane: Polyurethane is made of plastic, stronger than latex and therefore can be made much thinner and still be just as reliable. Condoms made of polyurethane also transmit body heat more effectively than latex condoms however, women can still develop allergies to this material too.

Vegan: I interviewed my vegan girlfriend about her favourite brand of condoms and she said her and her guy like this one: http://www.glyde-condoms.com/en/vegan.php It has no casein (dairy protein). I couldn't seem to find out in my research what it was actually made of, so I'm assuming plastic, just no animal products whatsoever.

I suggest you pick which condoms you feel most comfortable with and avoid the common irritants such as warming lubes and scents. Obviously, spermicides can be extremely irritating but they decrease the risk of pregnancy, so it's up to you!

If you suffer from yeast, UTIs, bladder infections every month, try the above suggestions first and notice if there's a difference. I've had clients completely eliminate UTI's just by switching to a natural brand of tampons. If not, book a free 15-minute session with me and I can share some ideas with you.

Do you have any tips you would add to this list?

26 Comments
Lisa   •   July 26, 2011

I never even thought of checking out what my underwear is made of! I will be getting cotton from now on.

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Joy McCarthy   •   July 26, 2011

There are some materials that wick away sweat well... if you work out, cotton might actually be best because bacteria can grow. But on a daily basis the key is to wear "breathable" undies.


Ashley   •   July 26, 2011

Is it safe to use coconut oil with condoms? I have a feeling that it could degrade the condom, as other oils do, but please let me know if I am wrong.

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Joy McCarthy   •   July 26, 2011

Not to my knowledge. If you think of the hard chemicals in lube and spermicides, they are nothing compared to coco oil.


Angelica   •   July 26, 2011

Sooo... what do you wash with? I've always been confused about that. I know not to use anything super harsh, but is just water and a washcloth okay? Or do you need some sort of super mild cleansing agent? Just curious...

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Joy McCarthy   •   July 26, 2011

I use all-natural soap from health food store. I think it's called "the soap company"... from Essence of Life in Kensington Mkt.


jen   •   July 27, 2011

love my diva cup, I started using one about 4 years ago and have never looked back!

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katy   •   July 27, 2011

Hi! I am so grateful for this blog. You really do spread joy and I've gotten so much good advice and inspiration (and recipes!) here. Thus, I'm a little sheepish about bringing this up but it's important. When you write as a nutritionist, you are helping people with information backed by science. It's not some made-up snakeoil stuff; you are a pro. Thus, I think you are doing yourself and your readers a disservice when you repeatedly use the word "hoo hoo." (It feels like I'm reading something along the lines of Cosmo instead of legitimate health info.) All of those fake names reinforce the idea that our vaginas are GROSS, EMBARASSING, and DIRTY UNMENTIONABLE things, which is a very unhealthy (but sadly-pervasive) way of thinking, and seems opposite of what you intend to express. I'm not suggesting you write as if this is a medical journal, but perhaps just once you could use the proper name to reinforce that taking care of our bodies is one of the best, and most *adult* things we can do. Thank you for the opportunity to comment; I sincerely hope I haven't offended anyone because I intend this to be a positive - albeit critical - comment!

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Joy McCarthy   •   August 1, 2011

Thanks for your comment Katy. I'm not offended at all and I welcome everyone's opinion. This is my blog and I am going to share my humour and personality in every post. If it doesn't jive well with everyone that's okay with me, because I can't always please every body. My intention was to make light of a subject that no one wants to talk about. As well, you are right... this is not a medical journal and that's precisely the reason I did not write vagina, just as when I write about men's sexual health, it's highly unlikely I will use the word penis. Again, this blog is a representation of my quirks, my personal style for writing and I will continue to write the way I do. But appreciate your thoughts nonetheless and hope you continue to read. Critical comments are always great though.


Ashley   •   July 27, 2011

I have to agree with Katy. I was a little surprised and dismayed by your repeated use of "hoo-hoo." Your readers are mature people, so I think we can handle reading the word vagina. And I also was disappointed by your opening sentence..you, albeit playfully, tell guys that they don't need to read the post lest they want to get the "heebeejeebees." What is so off-putting about discussing women's health issues that you feel the need to post a virtual "no boys allowed" warning? I would think that most, if not all, of your male readers are mature enough to read these kinds of posts without getting grossed out. They might even appreciate being able to pass along this information to close women in their lives. I read your blog because you give wonderful advice and information. I hope in the future you don't shy away from these kinds of posts because they are very informative. But we're all adults here!

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Maxine   •   July 28, 2011

Hey JOY!! Great article once again! and despite what other nit-picker readers think, i enjoy your cute, fun and creative way you express yourself in your blogs! Your informative, you get your point across and you always suggest alternatives to the most obvious of answers!! Don't shy away from putting your personality and heart into what you do, regardless of those who would prefer you write their way! We are all adults here :D Thanks again, keep it up Maxine

Joy McCarthy   •   August 1, 2011

Please see my response below. Simply put, this is my writing style and my personality. Of course if it offends you, don't feel you have to read it. I appreciate the comments, but I'm not going to be revising this post because I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and I know that many people have enjoyed it. I hope you continue to read my blog.


Suzanne Williams   •   July 28, 2011

Really great info. No one ever wants to discuss these issues, so I appreciate your informative talks on how to keep our "lady parts" safe. Weird that you just wrote on this b/c I was thinking about the stuff they put on condoms and tampons the other day. Never thought like this before, but never been this healthy inside and out before either. Have you ever heard of Juice Beauty? Just started as a recommendation from my sis-in-law from her naturopath. Seems really good and natural, just wondering your thoughts. Suzanne

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Joy McCarthy   •   July 30, 2011

My pleasure.

Joy McCarthy   •   August 1, 2011

I've never heard of "juice beauty". Is it a book or something?


Jackie   •   July 28, 2011

Amen, katy and Ashley!

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Marlene   •   July 31, 2011

I am a fan of your posts Joy! Thanks for sharing!

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Pat   •   August 1, 2011

Um...if you look at this ENTIRE site,I can see that EVERYTHING pertains to "taking care of our bodies is one of the best and most adult things we can do" already. I disagree with Katy. I don't see the need to "reinforce" it, in any way. Everything on here reinforces it very nicely. I thank Joy for sharing a wonderful,professional website with us. Adults can have a little fun too. Do you really think Joy was seriously trying to dissuade men from reading this? I don't. I think she is just having fun with the old stereotypical idea that some men are put off with these topics.

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causes of erectile dysfunction and natural solutions | joyoushealth.ca   •   August 8, 2011

[...] boys, this post is for you! One of my guy friends, was feeling left out after reading my hoo-hoo tips for the ladies┬ápost. So, on that note, let’s get right to it… your man-parts. We already know from [...]

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Mari   •   August 16, 2011

This is a really fantastic post, but I'd like to hear more on your thoughts about lube...cocnut oil can be hard to find and really expensive - I work as a cam model, so I need lube for about 30hrs a week!! (not to mention that I kinda disagree with your idea that you should rarely need lube with a parter you are attracted to - what about anal? And fisting? And those days before your period when you are just a little...dehydrated?) If I am using commercial lube, are they all equally bad, or are some worse than others? Thanks!!

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Nayana Kulkarni   •   December 29, 2011

I love your use of the word hoo-hoo and lady parts. I thought it was pretty clever and hilarious. I absolutely love that your personality shines through in your writing and I will be a forever fan! It is especially effective because you deliver a tonne of information in an easy to digest fashion. I tried one of your Quinoa recipes and it was awesome! I hope to try different versions over time and am very excited about this new introduction to my meals. Thank you and please keep blogging!!

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Joy McCarthy   •   January 3, 2012

Thanks! It's nice to hear not everyone was offended by it :) Thanks for reading and posting a nice comment. I'm happy to hear you tried the quinoa recipe! Have a beautiful day.


Laura   •   January 9, 2012

I also heard from a different source (I can't remember where) that the non-organic cotten used in tampons can leach the chemicals into your body...do you think this is true? I actually forgot about that until now and will be looking into more natural tampons. Although it's not possible to completely throw out everything I already have to buy new things (due to the money) I will probably start to slowely switch things when I run out and need to buy something new. (Just bought natural house cleaners and next to switch is laundry detergent). The only problem I have with eating organic etc is that the organic foods are more expensive than non, and as I don't make a ton of money I can't afford to do that...I just do what I can at this point. Companies are coming out with cheaper natural products though which I apprechiate.

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Rachelle   •   November 7, 2012

Hi Joy, I was recently introduced to your blog and have been LOVING it along with your fun, light, yet very informative style of writing! I was just curious as you mention the Diva cup is another option over the regular ol plastic tampons. So my question being, is silicone really safer to be putting inside us? I've been wanting to try this product for a while, although it does slightly weird me out, but if this really is a better option then I'm giving it a try! Thank you for all your insight and fabulous recipes!

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Bri   •   November 17, 2014

Hi Joy, I'm all for being natural in this area. My one problem is after delivering two large babies I find I "leak" a bit in the day. I used to wear organic cotton panty liners that were reusable... I'd wash them every few days and it was great. Now though I need the commercial pads to help with leaking. I'm very young so having any kind of surgery to fix the leaking is out of the question (plus I want more kids). I hate wearing pads 24/7 but I can't think of an alternative (and can't afford the natural disposable ones). Ideas?

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Joy McCarthy   •   November 17, 2014

Hi Bri, I would suggest strategies to prevent the leaks so you don't have to worry about pads. Beyond doing kegels which is one of the common reasons for bladder leaks, hormonal balance is key. As is staying physically active to reduce belly fat. Magnesium and Vitamin D can both be helpful and research has found them to be effective for incontinence. Hope that helps!


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