If you do things like having regular checkups with your urogynecologist and staying up to date on every female pelvic exam recommended by all the ladies’ magazines, you probably assume that you have got the whole healthy vagina thing down cold. However, there’s more to maintaining vaginal health than keeping all of your urogynecology appointments, and some of the simplest steps can make all the difference in the world.
Cleanliness is Next to…Goddess-ness?
Deification aside, cleanliness, or proper hygiene, is crucial in maintaining a healthy vagina. A few things to keep in mind are, of course, wiping front to back after bowel movements to reduce the potential risk of bladder infection and avoid bacterial contamination of the vagina. During your period, make sure you change tampons and sanitary pads regularly.
Wash your nether regions regularly, but never use douches, which can interfere with healthy vaginal pH levels and increase your risk of developing bacterial infections due to the reduction in acidity. Optimal vaginal pH levels range from 3.8 to 4.5, and one of the signs that your levels may be out of balance is a strong or unpleasant odor. Avoid the use of harsh soaps and cleansers on the vulva or inside the vagina, as these also can affect pH balance.
You Are What You Eat
You already know the importance of a healthy diet, but what you eat can also help you maintain a healthy vagina. Among the healthy foods for vagina happiness are yogurt and cranberry juice, both of which can treat and prevent yeast infections, as well as foods that contain soy, as soybeans contain a form of estrogen that can actually aid vaginal moisture.
Precautions Are Pretty
Practicing safe sex is essential, no matter how healthy you think your partner is. Use condoms during sex to prevent STDs, and when switching from oral to vaginal sex, change condoms to prevent the possibility of introducing bacteria into the vagina.
Stay On Schedule
See your specialist regularly to keep an eye out for potential issues that may slip by your notice. Gynecologists not only know the signs of a healthy vagina, but they will also be able to spot abnormalities and perform Pap smears, which can identify any changes in vaginal cells that might be indicative of cancer.
When you have infections, treat them properly. Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis are all common infections that need to be treated in order to prevent reproductive health complications that can become serious, and each can be treated with the use of oral or topical medications.
Use lubrication such as water-based gels when necessary during sex. When your body is not producing enough natural lubrication on its own, the skin of the labia and vagina can chafe and become irritated during sex, sometimes to the point of breaking. Synthetic lubricants can be used to ease the issue, but never use petroleum jellies or oil-based products because they compromise the durability of condoms and can actually cause them to break down.
Dress Not to Distress
Wear loose clothing that allows your feminine parts to breathe. Cotton underwear is the best option, avoid wearing thongs, and make sure that you change out of wet swimsuits and sweaty workout wear quickly to prevent the growth of bacteria from growing.
A healthy vagina is a happy vagina! Consult with the caring team of women’s healthcare experts at Coyle Institute to learn more today!