Vaginal Health: How to keep your vagina healthy

Every other day we find ourselves talking about vaginal or perineal health to women some of who seek our services at Nyalife Women’s Health Clinic and others especially teenagers on different forums. In any case everyone seems to be talking about some form of vaginal health or vulval care tips or or perineal health to imply care for the vagina and vulva; adding their ideas to what they think will work or not work. We join in the conversation to dispel some of the myths and share scientific evidence if available so that you know how to keep “down there” smiling and know the recommended tips. We would like you take good care of your vagina and vulva as we answer your concerns.

We share a healthy vagina ‘vag’ ‘vajayjay’ ‘lady V’ tip below before we can delve into the whole issue of a healthy vagina and vulva care

I

Should Your Vagina smell like roses?

The vagina or vulva should not smell like perfume or rose petals. Neither should it smell like pineapples so you can continue to indulge on the pineapples but not for the supposed “benefit” of a nice smelling vagina but for the other nutritional benefits like vitamins. In fact a change of smell of the vagina or vulva from the usual to a foul or fishy smell usually signifies an infection for which you may need to check with your doctor if all is well.

VAGINAL HEALTH

Since We have dispelled a myth concerning the smell of the vagina, we go ahead to discuss ways to maintain vaginal health!

One of the questions we are asked time and again is: What should I do to avoid getting recurrent vaginal infections? Is there something that can help me in maintaining a healthy vagina and better care for my vulva area?

Vaginal Health: Should Your Vagina be Cleaned?

No.

The vagina has a natural self-cleansing mechanism and does not require you to insert anything inside it to clean. If you attempt to do this you will interfere with the vaginal microenvironment and remove the helpful lactobacilli-a bacteria that maintains the normal flora in the area and thus predispose your vagina to poor health-at risk of infections.

The normal discharge or secretions from the vagina carries any debris within the vagina leaving the area clean

Role of Probiotics in vaginal Health

Probiotics

Recent evidence is emerging on the importance of probiotics on improving and restoring the health of the vagina particularly following antibiotics use to treat bacterial vaginosis. Concurrent administration of antibiotics during treatment of bacterial vaginosis or immediately after has been shown to improve the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis such as itchiness and thus cure rates. It also reduces the recurrent rates and reesatblishes the vaginal milieu. Probitics are made of helpful lactobacilli that produce lactic acid keeping the vaginal ph acidic and thus not a good environment for harmful bacteria to thrive in. 

Your doctor may prescribe probiotics while treating you for B.V either concurrently or afterwards. 

Probiotics may help in improving the genitourinary syndrome of menopause

No.

 

All About the Under wear

1. Material

Cotton  panties are recommended since they absorb moisture better than the other materials that are used to make panties. They also offer better breathability so that your vagina can breathe easy and not be a breeding ground “warm and moist” for organisms that can cause infections.

    Cotton panties may not be the fanciest of panties but we can assure you that they serve the purpose alright.

    2. Fit

    Not tight just the right fit. The fit of the panties should be just right. Panties should not be tight because we want to allow space for the vagina to “breathe” and not create a warm environment for “bugs” to thrive.

     

    3. Night Wear

    If you can, avoid sleeping with an inner wear at night. Put on your pyjamas and slip in between the sheets for a good night sleep.

     

    Difference Between Vulva and Vagina

    The vulva is the area immediately outside the vaginal opening  encompassing the mons pubis, the labia majora and minora, the clitoris, urethral and vaginal openings, bartholins glands and the perineum

    The vagina is the organ beginning from the vaginal opening to the uterine cervix which allows for menstruation to pass, serves as a birth canal and a sexual organ.

    VULVA CARE

    In this section we share tips on taking care of your vulva-which is the area immediately after the vaginal opening and extending from where the mons pubis is (the area covered with pubic hair) to just adjacent area to the anal opening.

    Perineal Hygiene

    1. Keeping it clean

    Wiping is from front to back. The reason behind this is because you do  not want to bring forward all the gut bacteria from the anal opening to the vulva and thus destabilize the normal equilibrium of the vagina as well as be at risk of urinary tract infections. The urethral opening for peeing, the vagina and the anal opening are all in a straight line.

      2. Daily wash

      You want to wash the vulva on a daily basis. This may be increased to twice a day or more depending on different activity levels and during menstruation.

      Water is enough. However, mild unscented soap may be used to remove any extra sweat around the vulva.

       

      The vulva is a very sensitive and delicate part of the body. Only use unscented mild detergents with no scents or perfume if you must. Do not make the area smell any other way with some strong scented products

      NOTE: You only washing the vulval area; the area immediately adjacent to the vaginal opening and not the vagina. The vagina has own natural self-cleansing mechanism and you do not need to clean the inside for whatever reasons!!!

      3. Pubic Hair

      To shave or not to shave. Pubic hair has been placed in the mons pubis and the labia majora for a reason. Just like the other hairs on the rest of our body. It prevents harmful “bugs” from getting to the vagina. However, we aclknowledge that some feel uncomfortable when it is overgrown for aesthetic reasons-trimming of the pubic hair is okey.

      The shaving creams, waxing etc may be harmful because of the strong chemical that they contain

      SIGNS OF A HEALTHY VAGINA AND VULVA

      A healthy vagina and/ or vulva has normal amount of discharge; has no foul or fishy smell; is not itchy and has no associated pain or discomfort.

      If you experience a change in the amount of discharge or there is a foul smell coming from “down there” or vulval itchiness; pain or discomfort-seek medical attention, you may be having a vaginal infection or inflammation-referred to us vaginitis or vulvovaginitis

       

      All About Vaginal Infections

      Vulvovaginal candidiasis

      • Fungal infection is one of the commonest infections affecting the vulva and vagina. You will experience increased amount of white curd-like milky discharge associated with itchiness of the vulva. The yeast infections are treated with antifungals

      Bacterial Vaginosis

      • This infection leads to a fishy smelly thin vaginal discharge emanating from the vagina with with inflammation of the vaginal walls. It is caused by overgrowth of multiple different bacteria. Antibiotics are used to treat B.V.

      Trichomonus Vaginalis

      • Trichomonus vaginalis is caused by a parasite, trichomonus vaginalis which is sexually transmitted and affects both the lower genital tract. It does affect the upper genital tract too.  It is characterized by a clear or white or greenish yellow discharge with a foul smell. It may be accompanied by vulval pruritus/itchiness, pain on urination or during intercourse. It is treatable with antibiotics.

      Vaginal Infections

      Read More on Vaginal Infections Here

      BEST FEMININE HYGIENE PRACTICES

      The market today is flooded with numerous products that may confuse you as to what you need to have good perineal health.

      Your overall well being has a great impact on the health of your vagina as well as the vulva and the entire reproductive health system since every part of your body is interlinked-part of a system.

      Eating healthy foods and being physically fit will ensure your BMI is good and is part of working on your immune system which is key in fighting diseases and preventing infections.

      Adequate hydration; avoiding mental stress and keeping tabs of your general health is very important in ensuring a healthy ecosystem throughout your body

      Bathing everyday will remove any dirt that may reach unwanted areas and is part of the best practices to keep you feeling great.

       

      General Information

      • If you are experiencing changes in terms of smell or odour-be it just a foul smell or a fishy smell; change in the colour of discharge-normal discharge is usually clear or light grey like and change in amount of discharge you need to see a doctor and not self-medicate.
      • Use condom protection to lower your risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) during sexual intercourse; avoid multiple sexual partners; be faithful to one sexual partner. Abstinence is the sure bet for avoiding STI’s
      • No douching please. Do not interfere with the normal vaginal flora by introducing substances that may change the vaginal milieu. No burning scents to get to the vagina to tighten or smell nice. Do not clean with any of those vaginal wash products oe vaginal balancing products inclding any pearls marketed by beauty companies. The vagina has a self-cleansing mechanism.
      • Use unscented sanitary pads or towels or tampons

      What More Would You like to Know About Vaginal Health including Perineal Hygiene?

      As young girls or teens and even as women we need to learn more about every part of our body including our vagina without feeling any shame. Pay your gynecologist a visit if there is an itch “down there”; there is a bad smell or different colour of discharge; if there is pain talk to your doctor. Have a habit to start your first gynecologist consultation from the age of 13 and build a rapport so that you feel free over the years to discuss everything about reproductive health. It would be an opportunity to have all those uncomfortable questions answered by a qualified professional.

      Is there some information that we may have left out and you would like to know about? Consult Nyalife Women’s Health Clinic Gynecologist or your doctor. You can also  share with us on info@nyalifewomensclinic.com or reach us on 0746516514.

      Address and Contacts

      Call Us

      +254746516514

      Email Us

      info@nyalifewomensclinic.com

      Our Location

      JemPark Complex building suite A5 in Sabaki

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