Why might some of us experience vaginal stinging or sensitivity in the floatation tank environment?
All bodies are different, and no two vaginas are alike, so there are a few possibilities as to why you might have experienced discomfort, stinging, buring and even irritation. Sometimes it simply has to do with especially sensitive skin down there, or the way your vagina tilts in a relaxed, lying down position.
Another possible cause of stinging while floating is the presence of cuts or scratches in the area, things like irritation from shaving or waxing and micro-tears caused by sexual activity.
However, in the absence of any outward cause, vaginal discomfort in the sensory deprivation tank environment is usually just a matter of body chemistry. The vagina is a naturally acidic environment, which is the body’s clever way of keeping bacterial infections at bay. In contrast, the Epsom salt rich solution in the floatation tank is pH balanced, which means it is more alkaline than the vagina.
The average, natural pH of the vagina is in the range of 3.8-4.5, whereas the water in the floatation tank is closer to 7.0. This pH shift can be sufficient to cause burning or stinging in some people with sensitive vaginal skin. It seems that menopausal women may be more prone to irritation, perhaps to do with dryness and changes in skin texture with changing hormones.
The good news is, all of these issues can be easily managed with proper preparation, so you can enjoy a relaxing float without any distractions!
How can I manage vaginal discomfort and still have an awesome floatation session?
If you have experienced vaginal discomfort when floating in the past, or when swimming, taking a bath, etc., we recommend the following approach to facilitate the most relaxing float possible:
- Wait at least 48 hours after shaving or waxing! Even if the area appears healed, irritation of the skin can persist for a couple of days after a brazilian or shaving, so do yourself a favour and give it a few days before you schedule your float!
- Pop a tampon in. Yes, even if it’s not that time of the month. Coating the tampon with Vaseline can prevent dryness and can also help to keep any water out.
- Pat the vagina dry - no rubbing. After your pre-float shower, gently pat the area dry and treat the skin with gentleness and care.
- Make a thin barrier using the Dermeze moisturiser supplied. In the room you will find a tube of Dermeze moisturiser. This product is helpful for any sensitive areas that might sting in the salty water - from eczema, to cuts and scratches, to, yes, a stinging vagina! Just rub a thin layer of the cream over the area after toweling off and before you hop in the tank.
If you are prone to bacterial infections such as bacterial vaginosis, you may also wish to rebalance the pH of your vagina after floating. This can be accomplished by diluting a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide, which has the same natural pH as the vagina, in some water and washing the area carefully. You can also use an oral syringe or douche to wash from the inside out. Consult your doctor before undertaking this.
Following the steps outlined above will ensure that you have the most comfortable float possible! So you can get the benefit of all those beautiful Epsom salts, plus the floatation tank’s unique zero-gravity, sensory-deprivation atmosphere. And all without that vaginal discomfort distracting you!
Happy floating and see you on the other side!