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Embrace your womanhood: A guide to maintain the vaginal health

- 5 min read
written by Shield Connect

Embrace your womanhood: A guide to maintain the vaginal health
If women started to discuss intimate hygiene products and the intimate hygiene routine like they discuss make-up and skincare regimes, their vaginal health would certainly rejoice! It involves no rocket-science to keep it clean and healthy, especially with many products now available in the Indian market. Despite this India claims to have the lowest usage of feminine hygiene products.

If women started to discuss intimate hygiene products and the intimate hygiene routine like they discuss make-up and skincare regimes, their vaginal health would certainly rejoice! It involves no rocket-science to keep it clean and healthy, especially with many products now available in the Indian market. Despite this India claims to have the lowest usage of feminine hygiene products.

Sheer lack of awareness is the major barrier deterring the widespread usage of feminine intimate hygiene products as well as adoption of healthy practices. It is necessary to banish the stigma attached to such topics and to stop talking in hushed tones or through metaphors when discussing about the private parts.

To make things easier we have compiled a do’s and don’ts list which you must immediately add to your daily routine. You and your vagina can thank us later!

Vaginal health

 

DO: KNOW AND TREAT INFECTIONS WHEN THEY ARISE

You need to consult your doctor if you find anything suspicious like strong and unusual smell, intense itching in and around the vagina or heavy discharge. The most common infections that could affect your vagina are:

  1. Bacterial Vaginosis/Vaginitis: This is the most common bacterial infection in women in all age groups. If symptoms appear, they include fishy smell, itching, grey watery vaginal discharge, burning sensation while urination.
  2. Yeast Infection (Vaginal Thrush): This can affect 3 out of 4 women at some point in life. Symptoms include intense itchiness, irritation and thick white vaginal discharge.
  3. Chlamydia: It is one of the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection (STI) and the symptoms are excess vaginal discharge than usual, pain during urination or sex, bleeding between the periods.
  4. Trichomoniasis: This is also a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite, Trichomonas. Possible symptoms include yellow or white, smelly and/or frothy vaginal discharge, soreness and/or itching during urination.

A doctor’s guidance and prescription are essential for treating vaginal infections.

DON’T: CLEAN YOUR VAGINA WITH intimate hygiene wash

It is recommended to use intimate hygiene wash rather than a soap. The vagina is a self-cleansing body part. The vagina naturally has a low pH (3.8 to 4.5) which helps in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. While the soap is naturally alkaline with a pH of around 8-10.

When soap is used, it can disrupt the normal vaginal pH balance. A mild non-scented intimate hygiene wash is recommended and your doctor will help you identifying and prescribing a right intimate hygiene wash.

DO: LET YOUR VAGINA BREATHE

To help it keep clean and dry as well as to let it breathe you need to:

  • Switch to cotton panties and avoid synthetic material
  • Make sure to air it out by ditching the panties while you sleep at night or wearing loose fitting panties
  • Wear clean panties and change your panties at least twice a day
  • Loose fitted clothes and a comfortable-fit panty are essential if you witness bad vaginal odour

DON’T: YOU SHOULDN’T LEAVE TAMPON OR SANITARY NAPKIN ON FOR TOO LONG

Most of you know about the criticality of this point yet sometimes you tend to overlook it and keep your tampons or pads on for too long without changing it at regular intervals. Whether it’s due to a busy schedule, long travelling hours, a tough test due the next day or sheer negligence, you need to keep in mind that it can be hazardous to not change the pad or tampon at the right time.

Tampons should be changed after every 8 hours, sanitary napkins after every 3-4 hours and menstrual/menstruation cups should be emptied and re-inserted after every 4-8 hours.

DO: MAINTAIN GOOD VAGINAL HYGIENE

A trusted brand’s mild unscented intimate hygiene wash with a balanced pH is a must to maintain good vaginal health. Apart from this, using intimate hygiene wipes while travelling or using public toilets can go a long way in helping you keep your vagina healthy and infection-free.

Apart from this ensure that you don’t use strong detergents to wash your underwear because if any residuals are left behind then they can lead to irritation and infection.

DON’T: DEODORANTS/PERFUMES ARE NOT FOR YOUR VAGINA

It is perfectly normal for vaginas to have an odour and it is absolutely unnecessary to use the deodorants and perfumes in and around your vagina, as the skin in and around the vagina is really sensitive. Deodorants and perfumes not only tamper with the natural balance of pH and kill the good microbes in your vagina but they can also lead to irritation and even infection.

To fight complaints of unpleasant odour from the vagina, you can follow the steps mentioned like maintaining good hygiene, getting checked for infections, frequent change of clothes and wearing loose clothes.

DO: VISIT YOUR GYNAECOLOGIST FOR PREVENTIVE CARE

Gynaecological appointments and examinations are crucial for vaginal problems. You can visit your gynaecologist for advice on what products are good for you, what practices you should adopt and what you can skip. Not just that Gynaecologists can help you diagnose diseases and disorders that can harm your vagina and overall reproductive system.

 

DON’T: WET/SWEATY CLOTHES

Whether it is post-workout or you got drenched in rain or you just went for a swim, it is essential to change out of your wet/sweaty clothes as soon as possible. These lead to warm and moist environments which can be a breeding ground for the bacteria and fungi. This increases the chances of vaginal infections.

Make sure to properly dry yourself and then put on clean and dry clothes.

DO: HEALTHY DIET = HEALTHY REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM

It’s easy to forget about this one but a healthy diet can prove to be good for the vagina in so many ways. Following foods should be added to your diet to keep the reproductive system healthy:

  1. Probiotic-rich food– Rich in probiotics, curd/yoghurt, probiotic drinks and kimchi can help increase the good bacteria in your vagina and prevent both bacterial and yeast infections
  2. Cranberries– These can help tackle urinary tract infections (UTI) as they are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C & E and powerful acidic compounds to fight harmful bacteria. You can opt for sugar-free cranberry juice or fresh cranberries.
  3. Sweet Potatoes– Rich in β carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes help in strengthening vaginal and uterine (womb) muscles and also help with fertility and reproductive health.
  4. Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, sweet lime)– Having a serving or two of citrus fruits prevent the development of fibroids in the womb.
  5. Apple– Rich in antioxidants and phytoestrogen, apple helps in stimulating vaginal blood flow and increase the lubrication in the vagina
  6. Leafy greens (spinach, fenugreek/methi)– These are rich in magnesium, calcium and other nutrients, which help in vaginal blood circulation, prevents vaginal dryness and are beneficial for vaginal muscles.
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