A lot of women have skincare regimens that they follow judiciously and this is a great thing. But in taking care of our skin, many of us forget that our vaginal health is also just as important and this cannot be stressed enough seeing as our vagina also ages like our skin.
In most societies across the world, talking about the vagina, especially vaginal health is a topic that is still frowned upon. This is especially so in conservative countries like Nigeria and other places across Africa; so most of our girls and women never learn how to best take care of this essential part of their body. This could lead to multiple infections and diseases that can sometimes be fatal. So before we get started, let’s just repeat this body part a few times – as a way to get comfortable with talking about it freely and in turn, caring for it the right way, going forward: Vagina… V a g i n a… V a g i n a.
Like the age-old saying goes: knowledge is power and the 7 tips listed below will help a great deal in avoiding many common vaginal health issues like yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis. These tips are non-exhaustive and you can always find more information with quick online research. However, if you have any concerning symptoms related to your vaginal health, be sure to contact a gynaecologist as soon as possible as early intervention is always key!
Here are 7 ways to keep your vagina happy and in good health…
1. Wear cotton underwear
The importance of choosing the right underwear cannot be overemphasized. The best kind to opt for is 100% cotton as this is breathable, absorbs moisture and keeps things dry around your vagina. It is especially important to wear cotton underwear throughout the summer or during times of high humidity.
2. Eat yoghurt
Yoghurt has the same good bacteria that are found in the vagina. Getting into the habit of taking yoghurt can help to replenish the body’s good bacteria and helping to decrease your risk of a yeast infection. While yoghurt and other probiotics may not help prevent or treat all types of vaginal infections, it probably won’t hurt to frequently consume good bacteria that can help fight some infections.
3. Don’t douche
Douching is washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids. Douching is bad for your vagina health because it disturbs the normal chemical and microbial balance of the vagina. This can potentially lead to bacterial infections. Douching may also force pathogens up through the cervix causing uterine infections.
4. Don’t overuse antibiotics
Abuse of any drug is bad. When antibiotics are misused, bacterial infections that used to be curable will no longer respond to antibiotic treatment. It has become a norm for people to want to self medicate when they have minor infections with the use of antibiotics. However, it is advisable to ask your doctor if there’s anything else that might help before starting on antibiotics. If your doctor does recommend taking them, make sure to finish the entire dosage. Not doing so can contribute to antibiotic resistance, which makes antibiotics ineffective against harmful bacteria when you really need to take it.
5. Wipe from front to back
Due to swelling and micro-abrasions that can occur during sexual intercourse, your vulva and vaginal skin are particularly tender and prone to infection. Hence, it is safer and advisable to always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading faecal matter from your anus to the vagina.
6. Do kegel exercises
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. Kegel exercises work to improve your sexual health and pleasure by helping relax your vaginal muscles, preventing painful intercourse and improving blood circulation to the area which helps increase sexual arousal among other great benefits. Wink. The best part about Kegel exercises is that you can do them just about anytime and don’t need the gym for this. Watch the video above to learn how to do kegel exercises.
7. See your Gyno for a Pap smear
A Pap smear also called a Pap test or smear test is a procedure used to look for changes in the cells of the cervix. A Pap smear removes a microscopic sample of cells from the cervix to test for cancer and precancer cells and is recommended every three years. Besides that, regularly visiting your gynaecologist to talk about the health of your vagina will definitely help prevent infections or catch and treat them early.
Cover photo credit: Mahindraracing.net
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