No woman should overlook vaginal health. When the vagina is healthy, it maintains the optimal pH level for warding off infections and keeping itself clean. However, any interference to these healthy vaginal conditions can put you at risk for developing irritations and even infections. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do for a healthier vagina. Here are a few tips from our OBGYN in Venice for optimal vaginal health:
#1. Whatever you do, don’t douche.
Douching is never the answer, as it can reduce the acidity in the vagina, making it prone to bacterial infections. It also interferes with the vagina’s ability to keep itself clean. If you are concerned about an odor that is either strong or unpleasant, douching will often make the problem worse, and it will only cover up the odor. Turn to your OBGYN instead.
#2. Visit your gynecologist regularly.
By the time you reach the age of 21, or when you start becoming sexually active, you should have your first gynecological exam. Gynecologists can give you the information you need to maintain a healthy vagina, and they’ll perform Pap smears for the early detection of cancers, as well as other tests to diagnose for diseases that can affect the vagina.
#3. Dress for success.
It’s important to keep the vagina dry and clean, and what you choose to wear can have an impact on your ability to do that. Some styles and fabrics that are worn too snuggly can increase the moisture and heat, leading to the perfect environment for bacterial growth and infections. During the day, wear cotton, and avoid thongs as much as possible. Also, change out of sweaty gym clothes and wet swimsuits as soon as you can.
#4. Avoid using oils and petroleum jelly as a lubricant.
Having enough lubrication is essential for intercourse, because, without it, the vagina can become chafed and irritated. Although lubrication is a natural part of the arousal process, it’s not uncommon for women to need additional lubrication during sex. However, it’s important to choose the right lubrication. If you use petroleum jelly or other oil-based products, it can cause latex condoms to break, and it also puts you at a higher risk for developing an infection.
#5. Practice good hygiene.
A little common sense can go a long way when it comes to vaginal health. For instance, when you have a bowel movement, make sure that you always wipe front to back to avoid bacterial contamination. It’s also important to ensure that, when you’re on your period, you replace tampons and sanitary napkins on a regular basis throughout the day.
#6. Get treatment ASAP.
When an infection does arise, whether it be bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection or trichomoniasis, it’s important to get treatment right away. If you put off treating a vaginal infection, it can lead to reproductive issues, and it’s much less painful and unpleasant to get treatment early on.
As you can see, there are many things you can do for a healthier vagina. If you are due for a gynecological visit, or you have questions about maintaining vaginal health, please schedule an appointment with our OBGYN in Venice online today.