Vaginal health is an important aspect of overall health for women. Taking care of your vagina usually doesn’t involve much intervention. It does a good job of regulating itself, like a “self-cleaning oven.” Here’s some general advice for maintaining good vaginal health.
The vagina is a complex environment, chock-full of different types of good bacteria. This creates an acidic environment that keeps your vagina healthy. Issues can occur when that balance of bacteria is disrupted.
Vaginal discharge is completely normal. These secretions usually increase around puberty, vary throughout childbearing years, and can lessen around menopause. If vaginal dryness becomes irritating or uncomfortable, talk to your provider about treatment options.
The vagina is like a self-cleaning oven. It usually doesn’t need any help. Attempts to clean your vagina, especially with products like gels or douches, can actually disrupt the healthy bacteria in your vagina.
Sometimes women perceive vaginal issues because they experience discharge or odor. Most of the time, these are just slight deviations from their normal vaginal activity and will resolve on their own.
When the good bacteria are eliminated or weakened, the vagina is more at risk of developing infections such as BV, yeast infections, and even more susceptible to STDs.
If you have an issue, try not to self-treat. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
You provider will likely perform an exam and take a sample with a special cotton swab. They will have the swab evaluated by a laboratory to check for any possible infections. In certain cases, your provider may choose to treat you prior to obtaining the definitive results, if they have a strong clinical suspicion.