OH If your vagina could speak, the things it would say to you!!
Every woman should be concerned about their vagina health, vagina health is as important as a woman’s overall health.
What is a vagina?? Ridiculous question, you might say, but can you define it? Lol
The vagina is a closed muscular canal that extends from the outside of the female genital area known as the vulva, to the neck of the uterus which is the cervix.
As everything changes with age, so does your vagina. The changes in pelvic floor strength and vulva skin thickness don’t occur overnight which gives us time to prepare for those changes when they come. The vagina is designed to keep itself clean with the help of secretions known as discharge.
Other than your monthly period from your menstrual cycle, the vaginal naturally produces clear or white secretions ( discharge), this mucus is produced naturally from the neck of the womb (cervix).
The amount and texture / consistency of vaginal discharge varies throughout the menstrual cycle, around the time the ovary releases an egg, the discharge becomes thicker and stretchy like raw white egg.
Healthy vaginal discharge doesn’t have a strong fishy smell or discoloration, it is normal to feel some wetness during the discharge but when it it smelly, itchy or there’s soreness around the vagina, then there is a problem and it is time to visit the doctor.
WHAT AFFECTS THE VAGINA?
SOME HEALTH CONDITIONS : Conditions such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory diseases can cause painful sex, the use of some antibiotic also increases the risk of vaginal yeast infection.
BIRTH CONTROL : Barrier contraceptives such as condoms and associated spermicides can cause vaginal irritation.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES : Anxiety and depression can lead to low level of arousal during sex which results in discomfort or pain.
HORMONE LEVELS : Changes in your hormone levels can affect your vagina, estrogen production declines after menopause and during breastfeeding, loss of estrogen can cause the vagina walls to thin, causing pain during sex. Estrogen are hormones that are important for sexual and reproductive development in women.
DAILY HABITS THAT MESS WITH YOUR VAGINA HEALTH.
Everything, from what we eat to what we wear has an impact on the vagina.
WASHING WITH SCENTED SOAP : Damn girl, “ the Queen of the south” isn’t that dirty and dusty that she requires soap and water. Rinsing with a splash of water is JUST PERFECT. The vulva ( the outer part) is very sensitive and requires only plain water while rubbing and rinsing gently, soaps can cause irritation especially to those with sensitive skin. If you want to use soap then opt for mild unscented hypoallergenic soap and use your hand with some of the soap on it to wash, do not use sponge or apply the soap directly, afterwards rinse with a lot of water.
VAGINAL DOUCHES : Douching is the process of flushing up water or other sprays up the vagina to clear out all the secretions. This is an unhealthy habit because the vagina contains natural good bacteria that keeps it clean and the douching process gets rid of all the good bacteria in the process of removing all the secretions. Douching is unnecessary since the vagina can clean out itself, instead use clean water to wash around the vagina (the vulva) If you think there is any need to douche because of an uncomfortable smell inside, then it is advisable to rather see a doctor because natural and normal secretions don’t smell or feel uncomfortable.
USING SCENTED WIPES AND VAGINAL DEODORANT SPRAY : It is quite common to see a number of “vagina spray” on shelves for sale. These sprays come in different flavours – strawberry, roses, vanilla, etc.
My dear,your vagina is supposed to smell like a vagina, a healthy fresh and clean one, not an icecream flavour, these sprays contain chemicals that throw off the ph balance of the vaginal, cause irritation and probably makes the vagina prone to infections. If there is an uncomfortable smell in your lady parts, you need a doctor right away and not a vagina spray.
DAILY HABITS THAT MAKES THE VAGINA HEALTHY
WEAR COTTON UNDIES ( OR GO COMMANDO) : Cotton lets in air and absorbs moisture, that is why it is preferable to always wear cotton underwear for vagina health, or nothing at all when you are home. Have you noticed that most panties come with
DO KEGEL EXERCISES : Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor. It is recommended to do three sets of 10 kegels each day.
VAGINA FRIENDLY DIET : Like the gut, the vagina relies on healthy bacteria to ward off bacteria that causes infection. Probiotic foods like yogurt and cheese, and prebiotic foods like raw onions and leeks are essential for maintaining these good bacteria. Cranberries also prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder and urethra. If you are prone to urinary tract infections, take cranberry supplement daily. Fruits like pineapples and strawberries also help to freshen the juice secreted by the vagina.
WASH UNDER WEARS WITH UNSCENTED DETERGENTS : The vagina contains oils that prevent it from getting infections, but the chemicals in scented under wears breaks down this natural barrier and makes the vagina prone to infections.
USE WATER BASED LUBE : Lubes prevent small tears in the urethra and vagina which could lead to infection, petroleum based lube can irritate the area so you are better off with something that is water based.
ALWAYS WIPE FROM FRONT TO BACK : This is very important as doing the opposite can introduce E coli bacteria into the vagina and cause complications.
PRACTICE SAFE SEX TO KEEP HARMFUL GERMS / STD’s AWAY : Always wear a condom, especially with new partners to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
TREAT INFECTIONS AS SOON AS THEY ARISE : Yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis are the common vaginal infectios. Yeast is caused by fungal infection while bacteria overgrowth results in bacteria vaginosis.Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. These infections can result in serious reproductive complications hence the need to treat them immediately they are diagnosed.
GOOD HYGIENE PRACTICES : Change tampon / sanitary towels regularly during menstrual periods. Wash genital area with water often, especially if you sweat a lot, let the ladies down there breathe, do not wear panties for straight 24 hours, at least when you get back home from your day out, free the ladies.
LIMIT ALCOHOL INTAKE AND STOP SMOKING : Excessive intake of alcohol can impair sexual function. Substance abuse also impacts us physically and mentally which can also affect sexual function..
CHANGE OUT OF WET/ DAMP / GYM CLOTHES IMMEDIATELY YOU ARE DONE: Sweat and damp clothing are breading grounds for germs and bacteria and can affect the vagina, especially after a workout or swimming session. Remove wet swimming costumes immediately after swimming. Freshen up and change into clean clothing immediately after gym sessions.
PEE AFTER SEX : During sex, unwanted bacteria can travelup the urethra to the bladder, so peeing after sex flushes the bacteria out of the urethra.
In as much as we can’t completely avoid certain vaginal problems, regurlar visits to the doctor when something odd is noticed , coupled with good idea and hygienic practices go a long way in keeping the vagina healthy.