Healthy Vagina - How to Maintain your Vaginal Wellness
Maintaining a healthy vagina for life is the first step to female hygiene. We’ve all been learning how to look down so we can look up. That’s because our overall hygiene relies greatly on how we look after our V zone, in and out. But before we talk about keeping a healthy and happy vagina, let’s get a clearer picture of it.
Understanding vaginal health used to be an embarrassing topic. But not anymore, girls. Our V zone is our BAE. We have got to show it our true love. Once you understand all the basics about this precious body part, you’re on your way to feeling beautiful all over!
So, let’s clear up some points about our vaginal area, to understand how maintaining a healthy vagina is a simple, six-point list.
V-A-G-I-N-A - each alphabet stands for an action point that simplifies your vaginal wellness.
V – Vagina and Vulva – A lot of us mix this up. It’s ok. Your vulva is that region outside of your vagina, which is covered and protected with skin. Your vagina is the passage where menstrual blood leaves your body when you are in your period cycle. So, when we talk about vaginal health, we mean both the vulva and the vagina.
Your vagina has naturally occurring bacteria, yeasts and other micro-organisms. Lactobacilli is good bacteria that keeps other bacteria in check. This also normally keeps your vagina slightly acidic. Thus, vaginas have an in-built cleansing ability. Yet, some external factors do lead to an imbalance of natural vaginal bacteria and acidity levels. These cause infections. To avoid these issues, there are a few simple things to keep in mind and maintain a healthy vagina.
Also Read: 7 Menstrual Hygiene checks you need for your V Zone
A – Avoid Cosmetic Products – Avoid irritating your vulva and vagina. Seriously. This means stay away from sprays like deos, anti-perspirants and all that stuff that can cause dryness and itching. Don’t fall for all that fancy packaging on the shelf.
Avoid vaginal cosmetics like powders and perfumes too. Don’t use douche or shower gels in the vaginal tract. Only use a flush liquid, that too if it is prescribed by your doctor and only for the time period advised. On regular days, just plain water is good to wash and keep your vulva clean. That’s pretty much all – no harsh soaps or harmful shampoos. And finally, avoid hard rubbing or wiping after you wash up. Just dab a soft towel gently and wipe from front to back. This will keep your vaginal area safe and happy.
G – Go for Regular Changes – Make regular showers a trending habit, especially if you live in hot and humid places. If you work out regularly or have a long day of travelling and using public restrooms - showers are needed big time. Change out of wet or damp swimwear or fitness wear ASAP, no matter how cute they look on you. Be a good girl and change your underwear on a daily basis. If you’re hot and sweaty after a long day, change your underwear twice a day.
When you’re on your period, you have to change your pads or tampons at least every 4 hours. That’s the maximum time limit set by doctors. Lastly, change and rotate bath towels on a weekly basis. Fresh on the rack cuts your vagina some slack.
I – Irritation Intelligence – Being kind to your body means listening to your body. Ignoring signs of irritation in the vaginal area can lead to serious complications. So, be smart and notice these signs. And take actions to cure the irritation at the earliest.
A vulva irritation usually means redness, itchiness or soreness. Ouch! The best thing to do is to consult your gynaecologist and get it checked. Try not to itch away, that’ll only make it worse. Stay off to that razor or wax strip until the irritation goes away. It’s best to stay away from any exercise that increases abrasions or sweating in the area. Washing your clothes separately is a good idea, and ensure they’re rinsed well so there is no detergent left over. Experts also ask you to keep all fabric softeners away from your underwear.
A vaginal irritation has many symptoms and must be checked out by a doctor. The signs are –
- Burning sensation during urination
- Itching, irritation or soreness around the vaginal opening
- Unpleasant odour
- Abnormal bleeding
- Increased or unusual discharge
- Swelling in the area
These problems can be due to hormones, pregnancy, hygiene and health issues or STDs. Be sure to take the problem to an expert immediately so you can restore your vaginal health soon.
N – No Restrictions: Restrictions we’re talking about are largely related to the kind of underwear and clothing you put on. Some stuff sure looks all good and fancy but may not be friendly for your genital area. So, say no to extra-fitted, restrictive garments for long durations. Always wear cotton underwear. It’s your best pal down there – helps the skin to breathe, avoids sweat accumulation and maintains vaginal hygiene. At night, give your underwear a break and enjoy some extra air time in your PJs.
A – Ask Away: Got a thousand questions more? Ask away! Keeping yourself informed is always better. Find a women’s health expert who can help you avoid any serious complications to your vaginal health. Reach out at the onset of any suspicious signs and follow their advice. Ask if you need a pap smear or internal check-up. Even after following these daily checks, sometimes we might need an expert to help us out. So never be afraid to ask for their help. Your V zone will thank you.
Some girls are prone to vaginal problems more than others. That’s normal. It depends on individual stress, lifestyle, illness, health history and hormonal changes. Some or all of these can act up on our vaginal environment. But the good news is that there’s a whole bunch of easy things you can do by yourself to maintain a healthy vagina for life.