Condoms can keep you protected from sexually transmitted diseases and help you with family planning. But aside from these known benefits, The Huffington Post reports that they may also keep your vagina healthy by encouraging good bacteria to flourish.
Researchers at the Beijing Friendship Hospital in China examined 164 sexually active married women between ages 18 to 45 years old. Of all the participants, 72 used condoms with their partners, 57 used intrauterine devices (IUD), and 35 used the rhythm method.
Based on the results, women whose partners wore condoms during intercourse had higher populations of lactobacillus, a type of good bacteria which prevents vaginosis, a condition that brings about itchiness and discharges caused by chemical imbalances.
Lactobacillus naturally exists in the vagina and helps keep its environment at an average pH of 4.5, which is just the right level of acidity to prevent harmful bacteria from entering.
Sexual intercourse, however, causes a pH imbalance due to the presence of semen which has a pH of 7.0 to 8.0. Researchers believe that condoms may help keep the balance by maintaining the vagina's natural acidic state.
(Photo by superkimbo via Flickr Creative Commons)