JAM | Jun 2, 2023

Wellness Watch: Five Ways to Maintain a Healthy Vagina

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Vagina health is a common health topic that most women and even men shy away from, however, becoming better educated on do’s and don’ts when it comes to the vagina can prevent health challenges such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection that several women struggle with.

The vagina otherwise known as the birth canal is a muscular canal that connects the cervix and the uterus to the outside of the female body that carries out three main functions; childbirth, sexual intercourse and providing a passageway for menstruation.

Undoubtedly, the vagina is one of the most sensitive female reproductive organs that if not properly cared for can lead to serious health conditions such as urinary tract infections, fungal infections and bacterial infections, that can be costly to treat.

Visit your gynaecologist regularly

It is recommended that women above the age of 21 visit their gynaecologist at least once per year to have a pelvic exam or pap smear done. Regular visits to your gynaecologist can help to detect early signs of health challenges before they get to an advanced stage.

One of the most common vaginal infections that most females experience is yeast infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva, the tissues at the vaginal opening.

If experiencing any above-listed symptoms, it is recommended that women visit their gynaecologist to have the health condition treated. Vaginal yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection but there are studies that show that these infections are at a greater risk during oral-genital sex.

Use unscented soaps

The vagina is very sensitive therefore using unscented soaps to shower helps to maintain the pH balance of the vagina.

The normal pH balance in females ranges between 3.8 and 4.5 which is considered to be considered to be moderately acidic. Fragranced perfumes and soap contain a mixture of chemicals that can offset your pH balance increasing your chances of developing a yeast infection.

Rethink douching

Douching is a common trend being practised by many women in a quest to achieve a fresh-scented vagina. While this may seem like the best option for the vagina douching does more harm to the vagina than good.

Douching refers to washing or cleaning the vagina with a mixture of fluids which commonly includes vinegar, baking soda or iodine.

Similar to using scented soaps, douching can cause an imbalance in the pH balance of the vagina which can increase the risk of developing bacterial infection.

Wear cotton underwear

Resorting to cotton clothing during humid temperatures, especially cotton underwear is a great way to prevent yeast infection. Yeast grows in humid or warm areas, therefore cotton garments are recommended because cotton absorbs sweat and loses heat easily.

Cotton underwear keeps the vagina cool because the fabric is breathable and is very absorbent helping to eliminate yeast infection.

Maintain a healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is the key to your overall health. Eating fruits, vegetables, fibres, nuts, seeds and yoghurt are healthier options that are good for the female reproductive health.

Likewise, get into the habit of drinking water even if you do not feel thirsty. Water helps to help the body to replenish fluids lost through urination and sweating. It is recommended women consume 9 cups of water per day.

Water yields several health benefits such as aiding in the production of saliva which provides lubrication for breaking down solid foods and helps to flush toxins from the body.

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