Vaginal infections are common, and there are several symptoms like unusual discharge or itchiness that can tell how healthy your vagina is. The vagina is a complex female organ, and it is important to monitor its health and visit your gynaecologist for treatment when you notice anything off about your vagina.
Consultations with your gynaecologist help you have healthy reproductive organs, so you should not feel embarrassed about scheduling an appointment with your gynaecologist.
Most times, you can maintain a healthy vagina by making healthy lifestyle choices and having simple but healthy vagina habits. However, you may still experience some common conditions regardless of how well you care for your vagina.
What can cause vaginal changes?
A simple microbial organism imbalance can cause vaginal discomfort and imbalance. One of the most prevalent vaginal conditions is a yeast infection. It affects about 75% of women some time in their lives. A yeast infection may result from any of the following.
- Using a hormonal birth control
- Hormonal changes like breastfeeding, hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Vaginal sprays and douches
- A weak immune system
- Wearing clothes that are tight around the vaginal area
Another common cause of vaginal conditions irrespective of how well you care for your vagina is bacteria vaginosis (BV). It results from bacteria imbalance and causes excessive growth of certain microorganisms. These microorganisms outnumber the healthy ones like lactobacillus (a microorganism that resides in the digestive, genital, and urinary system). Most women with bacteria vaginosis do not show symptoms.
In some cases, you cannot do anything to prevent these conditions that affect the vaginal, but, with simple treatments administered by a gynaecologist or over-the-counter medications, you can have a healthy vagina.
The following gynaecologist-approved tips should help improve the health of your vagina and reduce the risk of microbial imbalance and infections.
Let your vagina be
Most women worry that they have an unclean vagina, and try to use products to ensure they have a scented vagina, but the vagina does not need those cleaning products. The discrepancies about the anatomy of the vagina have led to confusion when it comes it the right cleaning method.
Some people think the vagina is the entire genital, but it is only the inner tract, which connects to the cervix. The vulva is the outer area of the vagina. You can clean it with warm water and a pH-balanced or unscented soap. You do not need to use detergents to clean your vagina as this can alter the pH balance in the vagina, making the vagina prone to infections.
Assist your vagina during sex
Using a lubricant is important whether you are with a partner or on your own. Most people use lube because it makes the experience better, but it also helps prevent vagina dryness.
Vagina dryness may be a result of genetics or taking medication like hormonal birth control or antidepressants. The vagina lubricates itself through the glands on its entrance, but use a lubricating product if this is not possible.
Ensure you opt for a lubricant without glycerine. Glycerine is an odourless and colourless liquid in water-based lubricants. It is a by-product of sugar which serves as nutrients for microbes. Glycerine can cause an increase in certain microbes which may cause BV or yeast infections. Ensure you also avoid scented and flavoured products.
Protect your self
Ensure you stay protected from contracting STI by using condoms and getting STI tests whenyou have a new sex partner. Try to avoid condoms with spermicides. Although spermicides offer extra protection for pregnancy, they may cause vaginal irritation and inflammation. Look out of spermicides containing Nonoxynol-9 because it irritates sensitive vaginal tissues.
Your risk of having yeast infection triples when you use spermicides because they also kill bacteria in the vagina.
Know the effects of antibiotics
Taking antibiotics may increase your risk of having vaginal infections because the antibiotics stop the growth of bacteria. Although antibiotics are effective for treating infections, they are not good for the vagina. You may have an imbalance of microorganisms in your vagina when taking antibiotics for a vaginal infection.
Ensure you see your gynaecologist if you notice vaginal changes or infection while taking an antibiotic. Infections are easy to treat, and it is better to seek medical attention to treat the infection.
Encourage the growth of friendly bacteria
Some experts advise women to use probiotics to help maintain vaginal microbial balance, although research is yet to support this. Taking supplements and food containing lactobacillus may help balance vaginal acidity and microflora.
These foods include pickles, yoghourt, kombucha, kimchi and kefir. Ensure you take these foods in moderation and consult your gynaecologist before you take any supplement.
Visit your gynaecologist
Ensure you have a gynaecologist who makes you feel comfortable and regularly visit the gynaecologist for issues ranging from contraceptives pregnancy, sexual health testing, and abortion. You can also visit your gynaecologist for issues concerning your pelvic region and vagina. Ensure you have your well-woman check annually to check for early signs of reproductive or sexual health conditions.
Vaginal infection treatment
The available treatment for vaginal infections resulting from bacteria imbalance is antifungal and antibacterial medications. They are quite effective and may require only one round to treat the infection.
If you have concerns about your vagina health, you should visit or book an appointment with private gynaecologist in London for advice.