Women are bound to experience some or the vaginal infections during their lifetime. Common vaginal issues women deal with are vaginal yeast infection, trichomoniasis, Genital warts, Chlamydia and gonorrhoeaand bacterial vaginosis. Vaginal discharge, foul odor, pain during intercourse, pain during urination, vaginal itching are some of the early signs of vaginal infection.
Some vaginal microbes are universally considered good for a woman’s health while others are bad. For example, doctors have said women need high levels of Lactobacillus bacteria, which produce lactic acid, in the vagina.
Women whose vaginal bacteria varies greatly over time may need to be aware that they are at higher health risk.
Practice safer sex using condoms provides good protection against many STIs. Bacterial vaginosis is associated with having a new sex partner or having multiple sex partners. It is seldom found in women who have never had intercourse. This can be controlled by either using a condom or limiting the number of sex partners. Besides, Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital warts and herpes, and trichomoniasis are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, such as during unprotected sexual intercourse. Always use condoms (Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV) during sexual intercourse unless you are in a long-term monogamous relationship. If possible, limit the number of sex partners.
Wear cotton underwear and change them daily. Moisture, warmth, and anything that changes the natural environment of the vagina can set up the perfect conditions for the growth of yeast organisms, which thrive in warm, moist environments. Cotton absorbs moisture away from the skin, discouraging yeast growth, so try to choose cotton panties as often as possible. As far as possible, avoid underwear made of, nylon, lycra or other synthetic materials, these fabrics trap moisture and heat, providing a breeding ground for yeast. In case you are in the habit of wearing frilly panties, look for lacy underwear which come with cotton crotches for that extra protection against infection. Note that, cotton and other natural fibers “breathe,” allowing moisture to evaporate. Also, change wet bathing suits after a swim, ASAP. No matter how much you like, avoid tight-fitting jeans or pantyhose.
Avoid using perfumed soaps or feminine hygiene sprays, as they tend to disturb the normal balance of organisms. If your vaginal area is already irritated, you should not use scented toilet paper, spermicides, or harsh soaps. Choose additive-free laundry soaps, conditioners, and fabric softeners, whether sheets or liquid.
Do not use vaginal douches – they disturb the natural protective acidity of the vagina. Also, avoid chemical irritants in deodorized tampons. Douching can cause a vaginal infection, make an infection worse, or spread the infection further up into your reproductive area (into your uterus or fallopian tubes). You should however, wash outside your vaginal area every day with mild soap, and then rinse and dry yourself well.
Do not smoke. Cigarette smoking decreases the body’s immune system thereby increasing the body’s susceptibility of having vaginal infections which can cause Bacterial vaginosis.
Wipe from front to rear after using the toilet. Improper wiping easily spreads bacteria to the vagina and may lead to vaginal discharge and infection.
Avoid Scratching. Many times, vaginal infections cause intense itching – don’t scratch! Scratching infected, inflamed areas will only make things worse.
Eat yogurt with live cultures or take Lactobacillus acidophilus tablets. During the infection, eat at least three to four glasses of yogurt and you will be rewarded. Yogurt contains bacterium that inhibits the growth of yeast and should be consumed on a daily basis, even after the symptoms disappear. Closely monitor your blood sugar level if you have diabetes.
Hygiene: If you use diaphragms, cervical caps, or any medication applicators, you need to make sure you clean them with warm water and soap and dry them well.
Drink lots of water. Frequent water intake makes you urinate more frequently. Thus, the body is able to flush out the sugars that feed the yeast. A regular intake of water will also help prevent further infections from occurring.
Sitz baths are a super way of cleaning and douching. Mix salt or vinegar (half cup) to a shallow bath and sit with knees apart. This relieves the itching sensation, and the result can be perceived almost immediately.
Hygiene, plenty of sleep, a well-rounded diet with an appropriate fluid intake are a good idea for vaginal health.
NOTE: All sexually Transmitted Diseases can be prevented.
- Candidiasis (yeast infection)
- Updated Guidelines for Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Chlamydia- The Silent Epidemic
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.