What is Winter Vagina?

Rebekah Kuschmider
Rebekah Kuschmider
January 14, 2024
min read
Technically reviewed by: 
Julie Birgbauer
What is Winter Vagina?

If you thought you could ignore your bikini region during the no-shaving winter months, you might be surprised to hear about a phenomenon called "winter vagina." This isn't a new body hair removal trend. It's a label some people apply to the feeling of dryness or chafing in the genital area during cold weather.

Learn more about how the seasons affect your vagina and what you can do to care for it all year long.

Is Winter Vagina Real?

The idea of winter vagina dates back to a 2018 article in the UK news outlet The Sun. A British midwife warned readers that dry air in winter can have a dehydrating effect on the skin, including the delicate skin of the genital area. The article suggested that winter vagina could be a cause for vaginal dryness and lack of natural lubrication. [1]

If you search the term "winter vagina," you won't find any scientific studies on the phenomenon. Research on vaginal health tends to focus more on issues like bacterial infections, issues related to fertility and childbirth, and vaginal changes during menopause. Seasonal changes to vaginal health aren't a subject of scientific discussion because, as gynecologist and writer Jen Gunter told Refinery 29 in 2020, "Vaginas function quite well in all seasons." [2]

Vaginal Health

When discussing vaginal health and genital care, it's important to differentiate between the inner and outer portions of female genitalia. The vagina is the internal portion of the opening to the uterus. It is a muscular passage lined with mucous membranes.

The outer area of the genitals is called the vulva and includes mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, and clitoris. The outermost portions of the vulva are easily visible, and the skin is more like the skin on the rest of your body. [3]

In general, the vagina itself doesn't require a lot of special care, regardless of the season. In an article on the OHSU Center for Women's Health website, Dr. Jessica Reid, OB/GYN, noted, "Unless you have symptoms of infection or other problems, you don't need to do anything besides basic hygiene." Weather and seasonal changes don't affect the skin or mucus membranes inside the vagina. [4]

The vulva may be more susceptible to external effects. For example, damp bathing suits or sweaty workout clothes can cause skin chafing or lead to yeast infections. The skin around the vulva could develop dry skin and winter itch, particularly if you wash using hot water or drying body washes.

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Vaginal Care

You can maintain the overall well-being of your vagina and vulva with sensible lifestyle choices, such as:

  • Wash with warm water and gentle cleansers
  • If you have dry skin on the vulva or other external skin, use a mild, unscented lotion.
  • Wear breathable fabrics and change out of damp clothing as soon as possible
  • Practice safe sex
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Drink plenty of water

If you are concerned about your vagina, you should talk to your doctor. They can help you diagnose any health issues you may be having.

You can also take charge of your vaginal health by checking vaginal pH levels with home-test kits. The Vaginox vaginal pH balance test can help you monitor for issues like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. It comes with sterile swabs and vaginal pH test strips for quick results to give you peace of mind.

  1. Darbyshire, Robyn, "Cold weather causes 'winter vagina' – and it could affect your sex life," Mirror. [Accessed December 12, 2023]
  2. Longman, Molly, "The Truth About 'Winterizing' Your Vagina," Refinery 29. [Accessed December 12, 2023]
  3. Nguyen JD, Duong H. "Anatomy, Abdomen, and Pelvis: Female External Genitalia," [Updted 2023 Jul 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. [Accessed December 12, 2023]
  4. OHSU Center for Women's Health Staff, "The care and keeping of your vagina," Oregon Health & Science University. [Accessed December 12, 2023]
About the Author
Rebekah Kuschmider

Rebekah has been writing about culture, health, and politics since 2010. She has a masters degree in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University. Her work has been seen at WebMD, The Candidly, MedicineNet, YourTango, Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, Salon, Role Reboot, The Good Men Project, SheSaid, Huffington Post, and Mamamia. She is a former cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union. Rebekah lives in Maryland with her husband, two kids, and a dog who sheds a lot.

About the Reviewer
This blog was
Technically reviewed by: 
Julie Birgbauer

This blog immensely benefitted from the editorial contributions of Julie Birgbauer. Her detail-oriented review and unique style have helped to make this blog informative and easy to understand.

The blog was also reviewed by the Diagnox content team. Diagnox Staff consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, content writers, and healthcare professionals with an expertise to create and review high-quality, informative, accurate, and easy-to-understand content for both professionals and everyday readers. Our staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the credibility and authenticity of the information, reviewing them independently and verifying them by various scientific and technical sources to ensure accuracy. Our review team believes in delivering knowledge free from bias to improve public health and well-being.

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