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Easily Neglected Facts About Vaginal Health

- 12 min read
written by Shield Connect

As you grow older, your body changes. The vagina, in particular, goes through significant changes in appearance, odor, elasticity, pH level, and sensation. It is very important that you become well-informed about vaginal health and hygiene, as well as the “facts that could help improve your self-confidence. Knowing about your vagina is one step closer … Continue reading “Easily Neglected Facts About Vaginal Health”

As you grow older, your body changes. The vagina, in particular, goes through significant changes in appearance, odor, elasticity, pH level, and sensation. It is very important that you become well-informed about vaginal health and hygiene, as well as the “facts that could help improve your self-confidence. Knowing about your vagina is one step closer to having a healthy vagina which also translates to your general health.

Vaginal health has a huge impact on a woman’s overall health, so you should pay good attention to it every day. There are several factors that can affect your vaginal health, whether or not you’re sexually active.

There are several myths surrounding the vaginal health. People may say that hymen only breaks after the first sexual intercourse. This is false as the hymen can break due to many non-sexual activities. There are other false conceptions like the hymen grows back if you have not been sexually active for a long time.

Below are some of the most important but easily neglected facts about vaginal health.

  1. Douches and Detox Pearls Cause Vaginal Infections
    The vagina is not like your face that requires a good scrub and sometimes luxurious treatment to keep it clean and looking sleek. It is self-cleaning. Unfortunately, there is a growing trend among women – douching, streaming, and using all sorts of detox pearls to clean their vaginas and keep them healthy. This can be very dangerous.

Those “cleaning products” do more harm than good — there’s actually no benefit. They damage the vagina’s protective mucus layer and also get rid of the healthy and very necessary vaginal bacteria, leaving you vulnerable to infections. The popular douche flushes out vaginal secretions that are meant to stabilize the vaginal pH. Detox pearls also disrupt the vaginal pH and can cause irritations.

Your vagina does not need “magic” herbal packets. It has its own amazing and effective cleansing system that protects you.

2. Soaps Shouldn’t be Used Around Your Vagina
Soaps also fall under the category of dangerous products that can affect your vagina. This is because they contain harmful chemicals such as glycerol and antiseptics which can change the vaginal pH, promote the growth of unhealthy bacteria, and causes irritation since the skin is very sensitive.

While the vagina takes care of the internal cleansing which is the most important part, you’re only to clean the vulva area with lukewarm water. You can use a very mild cleanser to wash off any dirt trapped in your pubic hair.

3. Pubic Hair Protects Your Vagina
Nowadays, it seems like it is a taboo for women to have pubic hair. If you’re not waxing, then you’re shaving or sugar scrubbing. This is another trend that needs to stop. You need to understand that pubic hair is there for a reason. Apart from getting cuts and abrasions, genital depilation can also cause infections.

Pubic hair acts as a barrier against pathogenic bacteria. It also reduces the risk of ingrown hairs that can not only get infected but also cause bad skin irritation. Another important function of pubic hair is that it regulates vaginal temperature and traps STI’s to a great extent.

You can go for a light trim. That will help improve your hygiene and make you less prone to rashes and itching.

4. Your Diet Affects Your Vaginal pH

The food you eat has a huge impact on your vaginal pH, and in turn, your overall vaginal health.

A healthy vagina has a balanced pH which falls within the range of 3.8 – 4.5. If your vaginal pH is off, it can lead to bad odor and infections. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, buttermilk pickles, kefir, and sauerkraut, can help balance your vaginal pH levels and prevent infections. Cranberries can also reduce the risk of UTIs and help treat them. There are a few studies that suggest that people with chronic vaginal infections have felt better after taking probiotics supplements.

5. Wet Undergarments Increase The Risk Of Infections

It is common knowledge that moisture is one of the main conditions for bacterial growth. This is why it is important to keep your undergarments dry. After urinating, you should always wipe your vagina with toilet paper or a soft cloth to keep the area dry and free from harmful bacteria. Try to avoid excessive wiping as that can lead to uncomfortable vagina dryness, injury, and itchiness.

Note that, when wiping, you should always move from the front to the back in order to prevent getting a UTI.

6. The Vagina Should Be Cleaned After Intercourse

If there’s one thing that should become a habit, it’s this. During intercourse, body fluids and particles that could cause irritation are exchanged. Although the vagina is self-cleaning, there are things you can do to lower the risks of getting infections.

The first cleansing step is urinating. This is the most surefire way to prevent UTIs and bacterial infections. After that, clean your vulva with and warm water to remove bacteria and semen that could change your vaginal pH. Remember, douching won’t help you so don’t go there.

7. Breathable Fabrics Help Improve Vaginal Health

Tight clothes, especially those made from synthetic fabrics, reduce air circulation. This causes excessive sweating and creates the ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and yeast. To prevent vaginal infection, wear light cotton undergarments. Also, ensure you change your clothes after doing tedious chores or working out.  If you have to wear tight swimsuits, take them off as soon as you’re done swimming and make sure you bathe.

8. Sanitary Pads Should Be Changed Every 4-6 Hours

Your menstrual hygiene affects your vaginal health. Whether you have heavy flow or light flow, you absolutely need to change your sanitary pad or tampon every 4 to 6 hours. Any longer than that, it can lead to bad odor, rashes, and infections.

Other facts about the Vagina you should note

    • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is not a cause of higher vaginal pH, but a higher pH can increase your chances of having a UTI.
    • Not all bacteria in the vagina are harmful. There are good bacteria, like the lactobacilli, that help balance the pH level in the vagina.
    • Knowing the signs and symptoms of different vaginal issues and what to do if any issues arise can help you protect your vagina but always consult your doctor
    • Discharges are normal in the vagina, but if they have a foul smell, itch, or cause pain then you need to see a medical doctor.
    • There is a general misconception that the vagina is everything about the female reproductive organ. This is false as the vagina is only one part. Other parts are the vulva – the outer part, the labia majora and the labia minora, the clitoris, clitoral hood, the opening to the urethra, and the vagina itself. the other reproductive organs which are the ovaries, uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes, or oviducts as they are often called.
    • Itching in the vagina is not normal. It can be an indication of thrush or other infections. If the itching persists for more than a month, you need to get checked by a gynecologist. The gynecologist will have to examine the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus).

If you use organic and reusable sanitary napkins, ensure you wash and dry them properly before use. Also, remember to wash or at least wipe the area every time you urinate during menstruation. Women have to pay attention to their vagina to avoid issues like, bacterial vaginosis, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), Parasitic infections (trichomoniasis), and Candida vulvovaginitis (yeast infections). It is always better to understand the facts about the vaginal health and avoid misconceptions to embrace healthy life

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