Are you wondering about the health of your vagina? Various vaginal symptoms and experiences will help you figure it out, such as an itchy vulva, irregular periods, and labia bumps.
Vaginas do not all have the same size, shape, smell, and discharge. Even though a healthy woman may have some vaginal discharge and odor levels, the type of discharge and level of odor will vary per person.
However, no healthy woman should experience itchiness, burning, or pain in any portion of her genitals, such as her vulva or cervix. Experiencing these symptoms could mean your vaginal health might have a few issues. Since the vagina connects to other parts of the genitals, the health of one part can affect the health of them all.
The Top 5 Common Vaginal Issues to Recognize
1) Itchy Vagina
Temporary vaginal itchiness may not be a big deal. Perhaps you shaved your pubic hair or recently exercised and sweated a lot. These things can certainly cause temporary vaginal itchiness.
On the other hand, chronic vaginal itchiness may indicate something more serious, such as an allergic reaction to a body wash, soap, or other cleaning product with harsh chemicals in it. Also, cleaning the vagina too much will create an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, which can increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, trichomoniasis, or other sexually transmitted infections.
If you have chronic vaginal itchiness, the best thing to do is visit your primary care physician for testing to see what is causing it. Don’t attempt to self-diagnose or self-treat your itchiness because it could cause your vaginal issue to worsen.
2) Unusual Vaginal Odor
Vaginal odors can be mild or intense, depending on your sweat level, the clothes worn, and the time of the month. However, if your vaginal odor is foul or unpleasant, you need to focus more on the reason behind it. For example, perhaps you changed your diet or hygiene habits to cause your vaginal odor to worsen. Either that or you may have an infection that caused it.
Most foul vaginal odors can be attributed to infections like trichomoniasis or bacterial vaginosis. Even leaving a tampon on for too long may cause a bacterial infection because of the bacteria accumulations inside it. Good news is you can use probiotics for vaginal odor and they are highly effective.
3) Irregular Periods
If you stop having periods or your periods seem too short or long each month, things like intense exercise, significant weight loss, or excessive stress may disrupt your menstrual cycle. But if these are not the reasons for your irregular periods, you could have a specific condition called polycystic ovary syndrome.
Many women experience polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal imbalance affecting a woman’s ovaries and her ability to ovulate. If a woman doesn’t ovulate regularly, her periods may come every couple of months or sometimes every several months.
In addition, a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome will develop symptoms like unusual hair growth and acne on her chest, back, and face. She will even suffer fertility issues, making it more difficult for her to get pregnant. Talk to your doctor the minute you experience these kinds of symptoms.
4) Unusual Vaginal Discharge
Menstruating women will have a vaginal discharge of varying colors, consistencies, and amounts. So, it may be challenging to determine whether the discharge is healthy.
If your vaginal discharge has a foul odor or unusual color like green or blood red, it may be due to pregnancy, infection, hormonal changes, or poor hydration. The color change is the biggest concern because it typically indicates a sexually transmitted infection like gonorrhea or chlamydia.
5) A Bumpy Labia
You may be scared if you notice a bump or lump on the skin folds of the vagina. It could just be a pimple or clogged gland due to fluid accumulation. If either is the case, they will disappear on their own without human intervention. But if you have a growing cyst that becomes increasingly painful under your vagina or vulva skin, you need to have it drained by your doctor immediately.
The bumps and lumps on the vagina or vulva may indicate an allergic reaction to the ingredients of a body wash or laundry detergent. It could also mean you have infected hair follicles from waxing, shaving or sweating in tight leggings or workout clothes. Regardless, have your doctor evaluate the bumps to be on the safe side.