Many women don’t prioritize their vaginal health. It’s usually not until they notice a change in their menstrual cycle, unusual discharge, pain or itchiness, foul odors, or infertility issues that they decide to make lifestyle changes or seek medical attention. While better late than never, being proactive instead of reactive is always ideal as the longer you wait the worse the damage could be. Below, are some essential tips for keeping up with your vaginal health.
Visit Your GYN Regularly
Whether you suspect something is wrong or not, a trip to the ob-gyn should happen regularly. Your gyn can perform screenings and tests to ensure that you’re in good health. They can test for ovarian cancer, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and even give you information on STD testing. Depending on your vaginal health, medical history, and age, a visit may be required every 1-3 years to remain in good health.
Wash with Mild Soap and Water
Get rid of foul odors and reduce the chances of developing an infection by keeping your vagina clean. Though it may be tempting to wash with a nice scented body wash or scrub, this is not ideal. There are lots of chemicals in scented soaps and scrubs that can irritate the vaginal region. Not to mention, it can throw off your PH balance. So, it’s best to stick with mild unscented soap and water.
Again, keeping the vagina clean is essential, but be mindful of the cleaning methods you use. Many women make the mistake of using a douche. Douches actually rid the vagina of good and bad bacteria which can greatly increase your chances of developing an infection.
Wipe Front to Back
When using the restroom, it is extremely important that you wipe your vaginal and anal region from the front to the back to avoid transferring bacteria which could cause a nasty infection.
Wear Cotton Underwear
There are a lot of different styles of underwear for women. Be that as it may, not all underwear is ideal for good vaginal health. Wearing the wrong materials can cause irritation. It also makes it hard for the vagina to breathe which could result in a yeast infection. It is highly recommended that you always opt for cotton underwear or underwear made using breathable fabrics.
Rethink Tight Clothes
Wearing tight clothing, especially tight pants can cause serious problems for your vagina. This is because most clothes are made from synthetic materials that don’t allow the skin to breathe. It, as such, causes heat to buildup down there which can lead to sweating and the accumulation of bacteria which can cause an infection. If you’re going to wear something form-fitting, make sure that it is made from breathable fabrics like cotton.
Change Sanitary Napkins or Tampons Regularly
Unless you want to end up with foul odors, irritations, skin rashes, or toxic shock syndrome, it is extremely important for you to change your sanitary napkins or tampons at least every 4-6 hours.
Watch What You Eat
Whether you know it or not, what you eat can help or hurt your vaginal health. Consuming too much sugar, for example, can result in high blood sugar and cause a yeast infection. On the contrary, consuming yogurt with live cultures and probiotics can help to restore PH balance and prevent yeast infections.
Practice Good Hygiene After Sex or Exercise
Allowing bacteria, sweat, or other chemicals to remain on the vagina for too long can cause irritation or infections. Therefore, it is important to practice good hygiene after having sex or working out. As soon as you’re able, make sure that you take a bath or shower. At the very least, wipe your vaginal area with a feminine wipe or washcloth and mild soap.
There are a number of factors that can impact your vaginal health. As every woman is different, it is imperative that you know your body so that you’re aware when something is going wrong. The moment something feels off, it is recommended that you contact your doctor or ob-gyn for further assistance.
You may have taken an out of sight out of mind approach to caring for your vagina. However, your vaginal health is essential to your overall wellbeing. By developing positive feminine hygiene habits like those discussed above, you can help to prevent a lot of frustration and complications down the line.