Keeping your v*lva and v*gina healthy will help you avoid infections and discomfort. Unusual changes in v*ginal discharge are a sign that there is a problem. Many women experience painful v*ginal infections (vaginitis) at some point in their lives. The area around the v*ginal opening (v*lva) can also become irritated. There are steps that can be taken to help relieve and prevent v*lva discomfort and v*ginal infections.
Disclaimer: Not all v*ginal infections are the same, and some can be made worse by home remedies. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your v*lva or v*ginal health, or if you notice any unusual changes in v*ginal discharge.
What is a v*gina?
For those who bear children, a v*gina is also known as the birth canal. The v*ginal canal connects to the cervix, and thus to the uterus. In fertile people, the ovaries, which are located on either side of the uterus, release eggs. These eggs travel down the fallopian tubes to the uterus, where they meet up with sperm for fertilization and implant along the uterine wall during conception.
Menstruation occurs when fertilization does not occur. The uterus builds up extra lining until the egg is released to provide the most hospitable environment for a fertilized egg. When an egg is not fertilized, the lining must go somewhere. This means that it exits the body during your period until menopause, or it can be affected by a variety of factors.
What is the v*lva?
The v*lva is a collection of female s*x organs located outside of the v*gina. The l*bia are sensitive tissue folds found in these organs (l*bia means “lips”). The l*bia is divided into two parts. The outermost folds are referred to as the l*bia majora. Within the l*bia major, is a second set of folds known as the l*bia minora. The v*lva also contains the mounded area formed by the pubic bone (mons pubis), a small, round organ (cl*toris), and the v*ginal and urinary canal openings (urethra). These parts aid in the protection of the cl*toris, which is extremely sensitive — even more so than the head of a p*nis. The cl*toris, like the head of a p*nis, can be a major pleasure centre. In fact, many people with v*ginas require cl*toral stimulation to org*sm.
Why does my v*gina smell?
It is completely normal for your v*gina to have a slight odour or smell. To maintain tissue health, the v*gina relies on a pH balance. When infections or other changes occur, the pH balance can be disrupted, resulting in unusual odours. The smell is usually not a cause for concern because it is mild and can be a sign of a healthy v*lva and v*gina. Often, the scent you are smelling is only detectable by you and not by the people around you. However, if you notice a strong or unfamiliar odour, such as a fishy or rotten odour, it is time to see your nurse or doctor.
Causes of v*ginal infections
V*ginal infections occur when bacteria, fungi, or other organisms grow and spread uncontrollably. Some of these organisms already exist in the v*gina and maintain their health by coexisting with other organisms. Infectious organisms can also enter the v*gina through poor hygiene or unsafe s*x.
What is v*lva care?
V*lva care aims to keep the v*lva dry and free of irritants. This will keep the v*lva from becoming red, swollen, and irritated. Because many infections enter the v*gina, these tips also serve as a foundation for good v*ginal care.
- Wash the v*lva in warm water.
- Using a clean towel, thoroughly dry the area. (If the v*lva is extremely irritated, try drying it with a cool blow dryer.)
- The v*gina cleanses itself naturally through v*ginal discharge. Unless your doctor has prescribed it, avoid using douches. These products have the potential to disrupt the natural balance of organisms.
- Wear only white underwear made of 100 per cent cotton.
- If you have sensitive skin or are prone to v*lva irritation, avoid wearing nylon, acetate, or other man-made fibres.
- Thongs should be avoided.
- After washing, carefully rinse or double-rinse your underwear.
- Use as little laundry detergent as possible.
- Before wearing new underwear, they should be washed.
- Wearing nylon pantyhose or panty girdles is not recommended. They trap heat and moisture, creating an ideal environment for organisms to reproduce. Wear cotton or nylons with a cotton panty when nylons or leggings are required.
- Sanitary pads, feminine sprays and deodorants, scented oils, bubble baths, bath oils, talc or powder are all examples of feminine wash and hygiene products that can irritate the v*lva.
If necessary, v*ginal moisturizers can be used to treat dryness. These can be silicon or water-based products. Emollients (products such as petroleum jelly) should be used sparingly in patients with v*lva irritation. Emollients should not be inserted v*ginally.
8 tips to keep your v*gina healthy
1. Do not douche
The v*gina does an excellent job of self-cleaning by balancing healthy bacteria and pH levels. There is no need for douching. Douching actually kills some of the good bacteria, altering the pH and making you more susceptible to infections.
To douche usually refers to v*ginal irrigation or rinsing the v*gina with a device (a douche) that inserts the water into the v*gina. It can also refer to the rinsing of any body cavity.
Each person’s genitals smell differently, and there are natural ways to change your personal scent, such as changing your diet. Pineapple, for example, can make v*ginas taste or smell sweeter, whereas asparagus has the opposite effect. If you must clean your v*gina and v*lva, use non-scented products and only wash the l*bia majora.
2. Maintain the pubic hair
It is acceptable to trim or remove hair along your swimsuit line.
No one says your pubic hair has to be unruly — though you should rock it however you want! — but please keep your pubic hair. Pubic hair serves a variety of functions.
It protects your downstairs from additional bacteria and eliminates friction and sweating issues. Less hair removal means less itch as the hair regrows, fewer cuts and scrapes, and fewer ingrown hairs. If you have to shave or landscape your pubic hair, use natural shaving gels and creams.
3. Examine the ingredients of your lubricant.
Lubrication is incredible. It has the potential to elevate s*x for everyone involved. For example, glycerin is related to sugar. While it is effective at keeping lubes moist, it can also promote bacterial growth in the v*gina. Petroleum products are also off-limits because they can alter the v*gina’s natural pH level. Other ingredients to avoid include fragrances, flavours, non-natural oils, and dyes.
4. Make use of body-safe s*x toys.
Not all s*x toys are dangerous. Toys made of certain materials are, in general, safe.
Wood, silicone, stainless steel, glass, ceramic, stone, and a type of plastic known as ABS are among them. Toys must be pure and medical-grade – or even food-grade – materials, not blends. In general, you should avoid purchasing s*x toys online. It is difficult to tell what these toys are made of and whether they have been used before.
5. Engage in safer s*x
Safer s*x is one of the best and simplest things you can do for your v*ginal health.
Here are a few pointers to keep you safe:
- Use protective equipment. This could be anything from a condom to a dental dam to gloves.
- Get tested for s*xually transmitted infections on a regular basis (STIs). You should be tested after any partners with whom you exchange genital fluids.
- Keep your s*x acts in the correct order. Going from butt to v*ginal play can increase your chances of getting an infection, such as those painful urinary tract infections (UTIs). If a--l is your thing, make sure you do it after, not before, v*ginal s*x.
- Check the ingredients of the condoms. There are numerous brands that contain spermicides. Spermicides are not good for the v*gina because they can kill good bacteria as well.
- If other forms of birth control are available, use them to create a happier, healthier v*gina.
6. Pee after s*x
Peeing after s*x can help lower the risk of UTIs. It also allows you to fit in some quiet cleaning time.
7. Wear breathable clothing
Your v*gina is happier when dressed in breathable fabrics and clothing. Cotton underwear is fantastic. It has moisture-wicking properties, which help to limit the amount of moisture that can promote bacterial growth. Changing out of wet clothing as soon as possible can also help limit problems. Whatever type of underwear you prefer, make sure to change it on a daily basis.
8. Sleep in your underwear
Sleeping naked can be beneficial to your v*gina. Going without underwear overnight, regardless of what you wear during the day, can help your v*gina breathe.
Achieving good v*ginal health is a multi-step process. However, there are many simple and easy things you can do every day to keep your v*gina healthy and happy.
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