Vaginal Health Overview
Taking good care of your vagina is key to maintaining the health of your body. It’s important to keep the right balance of bacteria in your vagina. This not only keeps your vagina healthy but also the rest of your reproductive system. Sadly, it’s not always easy to get clear and straight advice about how to take care of your vagina. Many people don’t feel comfortable asking questions about it.
In this article, we will cover the top 10 tips to help you maintain a healthy vagina, according to a well-known gynecologist.
Eat well and exercise regularly
The first step to a healthy vagina is a healthy diet. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can really help. Foods like cranberries, apples, avocados, and dark green leafy vegetables are all great choices. Moreover, foods, such as Greek yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha, are fermented, which means they’re packed with probiotics. These probiotics are full of good bacteria that help keep your vagina’s pH level balanced. It is also good to use a quality vaginal probioticssuch as Pro-Fem.
Regular exercise is also important. Doing 30 minutes of exercise four or more times a week is good for your heart and keeps your blood vessels working well. Doing Kegel exercises helps keep the muscles in your pelvic floor strong. This can stop your bladder and uterus from sagging into your vagina as you get older.
Your vagina cleans itself. You don’t need to use harsh soaps or douches. In fact, these can actually hurt your vagina by messing up its pH balance. Eventually, this can lead to yeast infections. The outside area around your vagina, the vulva, and the anus should be cleaned with warm water every day. That’s it, just water. If you really want to use soap, make sure it’s mild and doesn’t have any scent.
Go for regular check-ups
Having yearly check-ups with your doctor or OB/GYN is a great way to catch small problems before they turn into big ones. Your doctor will do regular Pap smears to look for signs of cervical cancer. They can also test for sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
Checking for breast cancer and talking about your sexual health are important parts of your check-up. Many women see their yearly exam as a safe place to talk about sensitive issues with their doctor. They can also tell their doctor about any changes they’ve noticed in their bodies.
Use natural lubricants
Many women use natural lubricants to deal with dryness in their vaginas. Even if a lubricant says it’s “natural” or “organic” on the package, it’s a good idea to check the ingredients. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin or allergies.
Believe it or not, you might have a good lubricant in your kitchen right now. Things like unrefined coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil are all good for your skin. They’re unlikely to cause allergic reactions, but they can break down latex. So, don’t use them with condoms. Some products, such as glycerin or Vaseline, shouldn’t be used in your vagina. This is because they can cause bacteria to grow, precipitating yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
Pay attention to postmenopausal bleeding
If you have vaginal bleeding a year or more after your last period, you should take it seriously. This could be caused by things like polyps or fibroids growing, changes to the lining of your uterus, or certain medications.
If you notice any bleeding or bloody discharge after menopause, you should contact your doctor right away. This can help rule out other conditions.
Condoms are the only contraceptive that can also protect against sexually transmitted infections or diseases during vaginal intercourse. They help women maintain the natural balance of good bacteria and the slightly acidic vaginal pH, which can be disturbed by alkaline sperm.
Beware of condoms with added spermicides as they can irritate some individuals. Condoms can also be used with sex toys for easier cleanup and should always be replaced when switching between anal and vaginal intercourse.
The reality of thongs
Thongs, despite being trendy, can negatively impact women’s health. They are often made from non-breathable synthetic materials, creating a moist environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to infection and discomfort. The thong’s rear portion can transport harmful E.coli bacteria to the urethra and vagina through vaginal discharge, increasing the chances of the urinary tract or vaginal infections.
Importance of a strong pelvic floor
A strong pelvic floor is vital for vaginal health, as weak pelvic muscles can lead to pelvic organ prolapse. This condition, where one or more pelvic organs drop from their usual place into the vagina, can significantly disrupt daily life. While not life-threatening, it can cause discomfort, bladder emptying problems, and nerve damage in the pelvic area.
Choosing cotton underwear
Synthetic underwear materials can trap bacteria, leading to vaginal yeast and urinary infections by not allowing the skin to breathe and causing moisture to accumulate. On the other hand, cotton underwear promotes air circulation and absorbs healthy vaginal discharge, contributing to the maintenance of a healthy vagina.
Regular doctor visits
Taking control of your sexual health is crucial for your overall well-being. Pregnancy, aging, stress, and other life events can affect hormone levels, leading to unusual symptoms, such as:
- Abnormal discharge
In such cases, schedule a doctor’s appointment for a check-up. Remember, prioritizing vaginal health is a fundamental part of your overall health.