Vaginal health is a vital aspect of women’s overall health. Failing to observe good vaginal health practices can cause vaginal infections that can impact a woman’s reproductive system. Conditions such as bacterial vaginosis can cause inflammations and alteration of vaginal PH. These factors will create an environment that is toxic for reproduction.

These effects portray the importance of observing good vaginal health. When deciding on vaginal health practices to follow, it is necessary to distinguish between practices supported by scientific studies and mere traditions. Most traditional practices negatively impact one’s vaginal health.

Every woman should be well-educated about the basics of vaginal health. We have, therefore, compiled this article that highlights the things that all women must know about vaginal health. 

1. The Vagina is Acidic

All women need to understand the fact that the pH of the vagina is acidic. The vagina’s acidic nature helps prevent the occurrence of harmful bacteria that can cause infections and diseases. The acidic nature of the vagina allows a perfect condition to have good microbes.

Microbiomes in the vagina help maintain the acidic pH and counter any harmful bacteria. Due to the acidic pH, the vagina can have a certain smell to it. Companies come up with products marketed as products to ensure the vagina smells like roses, vanilla, etc.

However, these products are harmful. The products affect the pH balance of the vagina, thereby making it susceptible to infections. Yeast infections are a common infection that occurs due to pH imbalance. Yeast infections arise when a fungus known as Candida overgrows and overpowers existing microbiomes. Because microbiomes help prevent vaginal infections, when overpowered by Candida, a yeast infection develops.

In such situations, it is vital to restore the pH balance in the vagina. Firstly, you should visit a gynecologist who will prescribe yeast infection medicine. The gynecologist can also advise you to take probiotics for your vaginal health.

Probiotics consist of good bacteria to help maintain the vaginal pH balance and prevent infections.

2. The Vagina is Self-Cleaning

Women are known to be very conscious about their overall cleanliness, in regards to their living space and body. However, they should not be worried about vaginal cleanliness. 

Through vaginal discharge, the vagina cleans itself. The color and type of vaginal discharge change in the course of one’s cycle. During ovulation, vaginal discharge is elastic and has a watery color to it.

On normal days, vaginal discharge is transparent or white. The discharge is also odorless. Unlike vaginal discharge during ovulation, discharge on normal days is not elastic. 

At the beginning of menstruation, vaginal discharge is thick and white. At the end of the menstruation, the discharge has a brown tone to it. The brown tone is due to the vagina cleaning off residual blood.

It is important to note that the vagina has its natural ways to clean itself. In the vagina, some glands secrete vaginal fluids or discharge. The vaginal discharge helps keep the vagina clean at all times. 

When washing the vaginal area, you should stay clear of scented products and use plain water instead.

3. Clothing Can Impact Vaginal Health

In the past, all innerwear was made using cotton. However, with modern trends in the fashion industry, people have moved to use other fabrics such as nylon and rayon to make underwear. This move towards other underwear fabrics poses a risk to your vaginal health.

Though the fabrics offer a stylish look, they have one disadvantage. Synthetic materials, such as rayon and nylon have compactly packed strands of fiber that do not allow free flow of air in the groin region. 

The underwear trap heat and moisture. By trapping heat and moisture, the underwear creates an optimal breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to the development of infections. Underwear made using fabric on the other hand allows the free circulation and flow of air in the groin.

 When it comes to vaginal health, you should choose to have a healthy vagina rather than embracing stylish underwear that is tied to a steep cost.

4. Douching is Harmful

In America, about 15% to 44% of women attested to practicing douching. Vaginal douching is the process of cleaning the vagina by flushing it out using a mixture of iodine, water, vinegar, and baking soda. In some cases, the women add their scent of choice to the vaginal douche.

Douching is an old practice that has been discovered to have detrimental effects on vaginal health. The fluids used for vaginal douching have a high acidic concentration. This causes the douching process to increase the acidity of the vagina.

As already discussed, any alterations in vaginal pH will lead to contracting infections. Douching also encourages the growth of harmful bacteria in the vagina.

5. Menstrual Health

Menstrual Health

Menstrual health plays a huge part in overall vaginal health. Menstrual health entails the hygiene-related actions or practices of women during menstruation that promote good health. Poor menstrual health poses great risks to one’s overall health.

There are many myths about menstrual health that should be debunked to improve vaginal health. One common menstrual myth is that one should not shower when menstruating. 

The myth reasoning around the myth is that hot water can stop bleeding or increase bleeding. This is not true. In fact, hot showers when menstruating can help relieve menstrual cramps. There are other numerous myths about menstruation.

Poor menstrual health can raise a woman’s susceptibility to infections in the reproductive tract. Before learning the good practices for menstrual health, one must first get to understand the different phases during menstruation. Understanding these will help to note when there are any irregularities during menstruation.

The first day of menstruation entails abdominal discomfort with light bleeding. After this, the flow intensifies and some get cramps. During this phase, it is advisable to refrain from taking excessive painkillers to counter the cramps because this can lead to an overreliance on painkillers.

The last days of menstruation have a light flow or spotting for some. During menstruation, one should refrain from using scented tampons or pads. As discussed above, scented products can impact vaginal health negatively. 

One should not leave tampons in or wear sanitary pads for more than 8 hours. This creates a risk of infections. Observing these two menstrual hygiene practices will ensure good overall vaginal health.

Conclusion

When it comes to vaginal health, it is vital to keep in mind that less is safer. The fewer products you use, the fewer actions you take to alter the nature of the vagina, etc., which necessitates good vaginal health. 

It is also good to have regular checkups done by a gynecologist at least once in six months. The checkups will ensure that any possible condition is detected and treated early before complications arise.

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