Vaginal care is easier than you think. Despite the shelves of feminine-cleaning products at stores, there’s really no need; the vagina is a self-cleaning mastermind. This month, we’re going over the tips and tricks to maintain a healthy down-there atmosphere.
Common Irritations & What to do About Them
Vaginal irritation is categorized by itching, burning, as well as unusual discharge. Most of the time, these symptoms arise as the result of an infection. Bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections are the most common forms of vaginal infection, or vaginitis.
Bacterial Vaginosis is the imbalance of “good” and “harmful” bacteria downstairs. It causes vaginal inflammation due to the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found there, which ultimately upsets the natural hormonal and PH balance. BV is spread from not using condoms, douching, or having multiple sexual partners. It occurs most commonly in women aged 15 to 44. Make an appointment with a doctor when you notice vaginal discharge that’s new and coincides with an odor or a fever. To treat, see a medical professional as they will prescribe an antibiotic to restore balance to your body’s natural state.
Yeast infections are something most of us ladies have unfortunately dealt with. In fact, 75% of women have had one. They’re fungal infections that cause intense itching, discharge, and overall discomfort of the vagina and vulva. Yeast infections arise from sitting in a wet bathing suit or sweaty gym clothes, antibiotics, pregnancy, hormones and contraceptives. The fastest way to treat a yeast infection is to contact a doctor — they’ll prescribe an antifungal medication to be taken for about three to seven days depending on the severity of the infection.
- Clear, white-ish discharge
- A familiar, unfoul scent
- Pain during sex
- Vaginal itching or redness
- Bleeding in between periods or after sex
- Change in color or odor of vaginal discharge
- A mass or bulge in the vaginal area
Tips for Good Health
DO Practice safe sex
Condoms should always be worn during sexual intercourse to avoid catching Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Change condoms prior to switching to vaginal, oral, or anal sex so bacteria isn’t where it shoudln’t be.
DO see a Gynecologist on a Regular Basis
A routine checkup is suggested annually to make sure a woman’s vaginal health is on track and to also check for cervical cancers, pelvic floor disorders and pregnancies.
DO Choose the Right Underwear
Wear cotton undies let your vagina breathe. Cotton is not an air-wicking fabric, so it doesn’t trap moisture and cause a bacteria-breeding ground. Women who experience a lot of vaginal discharge should change their underwear two to three times per day.
DON’T Douche or Use Soap Down There
As mentioned previously, the vagina is self-cleaning. Douching reduces the acidity of the vagina; a normal pH is 3.8 to 4.5. Having a healthy pH reduces the risk of bacteria overgrowth, otherwise known as BV.
DON’T Get Too Hung Up on Odor
It’s 100% normal to have a vaginal scent. If it bugs you, don’t opt for the feminine washes, use a fragrance-free, sensitive skin bar soap and lightly clean the outside — never go inside while cleaning.
What to do Next
If you or someone you know is struggling with vaginal health, book an appointment and visit Adriatica Women’s Health at our McKinney or Prosper, TX offices.