PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With 2021 around the corner, many people may be reconsidering their health routines and habits that are better off left behind. Maria Sophocles, MD, Gynecologist and Sexual Medicine Specialist of Women’s Healthcare of Princeton, clarifies misinformed trends from the past year and offers recommendations to increase health and wellness as we enter 2021.
“The year 2020 was challenging for all of us: physically, mentally and emotionally. Looking ahead offers a chance to rethink and take control of many facets of our health,” says Sophocles. “There are many trends on the horizon to help us improve in the new year with new products to prioritize both pleasure and sexual wellness. And let’s not forget key takeaways from some of the not-so-great trends we saw this year.”
Top trends in 2021 and lessons learned include:
- Ensuring future fertility: A recent claim that the Covid-19 vaccine will cause infertility has caused concern for women planning to get pregnant or those that already are. However, there is no evidence from trials that support this claim, and Dr. Sophocles encourages women to consult with their doctors about any fertility concerns.
- Pandemic pleasure is here to stay: Some feel the safest sex is solo sex. Sales for sex toys have gone through the roof, with some of the latest innovations in pleasure released during the last year. For partners and solo time, Trojan Willa is a precision tip massager that lets users pinpoint just the right spot, utilizing a smooth silicone texture, mimicking a natural feel. Trojan Tantrix is a handheld soft textured sheet, designed to enhance and stimulate the senses with every stroke for ultimate pleasure.
- A WAP or DAP? Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song “WAP”, took the conversation about vaginal lubrication mainstream. Unfortunately, for some women, vaginal dryness makes it difficult and painful to have sex, leading to more of a “DAP”. Remember to use a quality silicone lubricant like Replens Silky Smooth just before penetration, to help turn a DAP into a WAP for easier and more pleasureful sex. For everyday comfort Replens moisturizer lasts for 3 days, to alleviate discomfort, irritation, and chronic dryness at the source. In addition, painful penetrative sex can be caused by vaginismus, menopause, cancer treatment and more. If sex is causing pain and even seems impossible, consider training the vagina with dilators like those made by Soul Source. Remember to start small and work up to larger sizes before trying sex.
- D-I-WHY? Many are avoiding in-store shopping to pick up essentials. While at-home remedies for vaginal health issues have been around for decades (like using yogurt or garlic for yeast infections) they do not work, and actually exacerbate the problem as sugar feeds yeast. Instead, RepHresh Pro-B is a vaginal probiotic containing 2 strains of lactobacilli, clinically shown to balance yeast and bacteria every day. Additionally, the use of DIY pregnancy tests gained popularity during the pandemic, such as bleach, toothpaste, white vinegar, or sugar. Remember, DIY methods are neither reliable or as trusted as at home pregnancy test kits, such as First Response.
- “Quaran-bae”: 80% of sexual health clinics have reported reduced hours or shutdowns leaving room for increased chances of STI transmission and contraction. Many STI’s, like chlamydia and gonorrhea are often asymptomatic, so testing is the only way to detect them. If scheduling an appointment with an OB/GYN for routine testing is difficult, try at-home STI testing kits available online. When dating, Dr. Sophocles recommends practicing safe sex by using condoms, like Trojan, to decrease the risk of STI’s and unplanned pregnancies in addition to routine testing.
- Solutions to treat ‘Mask-ne’: Mask wearing is now the norm and with sweat, skin oils, and bacteria trapped on the skin, many are experiencing acne around the mouth, or ‘mask-ne’. Not washing reusable facemasks and wearing foundation and other products under the mask can cause build up on the skin. ‘Maskne’ can also develop when detergents with fragrances leave residue in the fabric, which can also cause a rash in people with sensitive skin. Wash masks after every use in hot water with a mild, fragrance free detergent such as Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free and Clear, so skin doesn’t get irritated from detergent residue. For overall skin maintenance, adding a supplement like vitafusion Gorgeous Hair, Skin & Nails gummy vitamin is recommended as it has 5,000 mcg of biotin per serving.
- Mental health as a priority: Reports of anxiety and depression have increased considerably during the past year and highlight the importance of mental health. As work-from-home continues for the foreseeable future, it’s beneficial to utilize mental health resources: Talkspace, provides online therapy, and Calm is an app that guides users through meditation. Even light therapy can help during colder months. If feeling isolated or alone, consider taking up socially distant hobbies, like book clubs, video games, roller skating, or learning a new skill.
“The most important thing you can do is be proactive, be practical, take control of your health, and, as always, consult with a healthcare professional with any questions or concerns,” adds Sophocles.