- Hormonal imbalance: age, menstruation, lactation and stress are examples of factors that affects your hormonal level (less estrogen) which resulted in thinning the vaginal lining (atrophy) and leads to painful intercourse (dyspareunia).
- Medications and certain health conditions: breast cancer treatments and chemotherapy has a negative effect on the vaginal moisturizing level and leads to vaginal dryness and irritation. Antibiotics treatments also affecting the vaginal flora and increases the normal vaginal pH above 4.5 and results in vaginal infections.
- Contraceptives: barrier contraceptives such as condoms, diaphragms and similar contraceptives can cause vaginal irritation and infections.
- Sexual intercourse: unsafe sexual intercourse increases the risks of infections and STD’s.
- Anxiety and physiological factors: can affect woman’s hormonal balance and lead to painful sexual intercourse.
- Douching and hygiene products: douching is not recommended by the healthcare professionals. Douching is washing the vagina with water mixed with chemicals. It affects the normal flora of the vagina and results in vaginal infections. Some hygiene products are not well-tolerated and can cause hypersensitivity or affects the vaginal normal flora.
The vagina is a muscular channel that connects the uterus with exterior of the body. Vaginal health is as important as any other part of the human body. Vaginal problems are not affecting your sexual desire only, it can affect your general health including your fertility and relationship. Know the signs and symptoms of vaginal problems and what you can do to protect your vaginal health.
What affects your vaginal health?
Vaginal infections occur when bacteria, funguses or other organisms grow uncontrollably. Some of these organisms already live in the vagina and are kept at healthy levels by coexisting with other organisms. Infectious organisms can also be introduced into the vagina by improper hygiene or unsafe sex.
The goal of vulva care is to keep the vulva dry and free from irritants. This way you can prevent the vulva from becoming red, swollen and irritated. Because many infections are introduced into the vagina, these tips also provide a basis for good vaginal care.
Maintain your normal vaginal pH: normal vaginal pH is (3.8-4.5) if you have abnormal vaginal discharge or unpleasant odour, consult your healthcare professional. Vaginal discharge and strong fishy smell are symptoms of vaginitis.
Chose healthy diet: many kinds of food provide your body with the essential elements needed for your general health. Yogurt can potentially prevent vaginal infections and aid in their treatment.
Chose the right clothing: cotton can keep you dry during the day. Certain fabrics and tight-fitting clothing increase the heat and moisture, potentially leading to bacterial overgrowth.
Be sexually responsible: safe sex protects against sexually transmitted diseases.
Treat infections once arise: consult your healthcare professional once you notice any changes in your vaginal discharge, smell, soreness, burning or itching.
Use medicated lubricants: virginal dryness is a sign of vaginal atrophy, alternative medications to estrogens are a good choice.
Use proper hygiene: use a hypoallergenic intimate cleanser that protects your normal flora and kills bad bacteria as your daily routine wash. Avoid vaginal douching, feminine spray and deodorants, oils, greases, bubble baths, bath oils, talc, or powder.
Do your regular medical check up.
Chart showing the pH level of the body fluids. general body soaps have very high pH compared to the vaginal pH.