Vaginal health is a crucial part of a woman's overall health. Vaginal problems tend to affect fertility, desire for sex, and ability to reach orgasm. Ongoing vaginal health issues can also lead to chronic stress, relationship problems, or may even make one’s self-confidence plummet. Therefore, it is extremely important to take care of one's vaginal health.
Symptoms Of Vaginal Problems
There are various factors that can affect the health of the vagina. However, the signs and symptoms may vary for every woman. Hence, if you notice any of the following issues, consult a doctor or health care provider.
- Change in the colour or odour of vaginal discharge
- Bulge or swelling in the vagina
- Severe pain during sexual intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding between period, after menopause or sexual intercourse
- Itchy or red vagina
Ways To Keep Vaginal Health In Check
Proper vaginal hygiene can help prevent infections, discomfort, and odours, and can also improve sexual pleasure. In this article, we will discuss general vaginal hygiene practices that can help maintain the health and cleanliness of the vagina.
1. Avoid using harsh soap down there
First and foremost, it is important to understand that the vagina is self-cleaning, and it is not necessary to use harsh soaps or chemicals to clean the inside of the vagina. Using these products can actually disrupt the balance of bacteria and pH in the vagina, leading to irritation and infections. Instead, it is recommended to use water and a mild, unscented soap to clean the external area of the vagina, including the vulva and the folds of skin surrounding it.
2. Hygiene during menstruation
It is also important to practise good hygiene during menstruation by changing pads or tampons frequently to prevent odour and the buildup of bacteria. Some women may find it helpful to use panty liners or pads in addition to tampons to help keep the area clean and dry.
3. Clean and comfortable underwears
Wearing clean, breathable underwear can also help maintain good vaginal hygiene. Tight or synthetic materials can trap moisture and heat, which can lead to the growth of bacteria and yeast. It is recommended to wear cotton or other natural fibres to allow for proper ventilation and reduce the risk of irritation.
4. Avoid douching
It is also important to avoid douching, as this practice can disrupt the balance of bacteria and pH in the vagina. Douching can also increase the risk of infections and complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
5. Changes in vaginal discharge
In addition to these practices, it is important to pay attention to any changes in vaginal discharge, as this can be a sign of an infection or other issue. Normal vaginal discharge is usually clear or milky white and has a mild, non-offensive odour. If the discharge is yellow, green, or has a strong, foul odour, this could be a sign of an infection and it is recommended to see a healthcare provider for further evaluation.
6. Safe intercourse
It is also important to practise safe sex by using condoms or other forms of protection to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs can cause symptoms such as abnormal discharge, itching, and burning, and can also lead to more serious health issues if left untreated.
In conclusion, good vaginal hygiene is an important aspect of overall health and well-being. By following simple practices such as using water and a mild soap to clean the external area of the vagina, changing pads or tampons frequently during menstruation, wearing clean, breathable underwear, and avoiding douching, you can help maintain the health and cleanliness of the vagina. It is also important to pay attention to any changes in discharge or other symptoms, and to practise safe sex to reduce the risk of STIs.