Like most parts that make up the human body, the vagina has special properties that are vital to a woman’s overall health. One important aspect of the vagina is its ability to keep itself clean. This is done with the help of natural secretions in the body. Because of this, the use of vaginal wipes and douches is unnecessary. Those wondering how to keep a healthy vagina don’t have to do much since it is self-cleaning.
The healthier women are in their everyday life, the better off their vagina will be. When their body is in good general health and they maintain a healthy diet and exercise, their vagina will be able to maintain good health as well. Women can increase their vaginal function with normal exercise. For example, walking and running on a regular basis will assist in toning the pelvic floor.
Definition of Vagina
The vagina is found inside a woman’s body and is a tube of muscle that runs from the cervix to the vaginal opening. The vagina connects to the cervix, which then connects to the uterus, providing a birth canal for child-bearing women. The ovaries are located on each side of the uterus and release eggs in fertile women. The eggs then implant along the uterine wall to meet up with sperm during fertilization. When an egg isn’t fertilized, menstruation happens. When fertilization does not occur, menstruation does.
What’s a Vulva?
The vulva is defined as the external sex organs surrounding the vaginal opening. The vulva is the area outside of the vagina that consists of the labia, urethra, clitoris and mons pubis. The labia has two parts; the labia majora is the outer fold and the labia minora is the inner fold. Both of these work to protect the clitoris, a sex organ that is especially sensitive.
How to Have a Healthy Vagina: Proper Vulva Care
Vaginal infections can be a common problem for women. They occur when fungi, bacteria and other organisms grow abundant. A number of good organisms live in the vagina naturally and are maintained at healthy levels. Other more infectious organisms are often introduced in the vagina if women have unsafe sex or improper hygiene. This is why proper vulva care is so important for those wondering how to maintain a healthy vagina.
Proper vulva care is achieved by keeping the vulva dry and free from irritants. This prevents the vulva from being irritated, red, and swollen. Here are some additional tips on how to have good vaginal health:
- Wash the vulva with warm water and dry it carefully with a clean towel
- Avoid wearing thongs when possible
- Wear 100% cotton underwear as much as possible
- Avoid using excess laundry detergent or fabric softeners when washing and drying underwear
- Always wash new underwear before wearing
- Use white, soft toilet tissue
- Non-scented tampons should be used instead of sanitary napkins or pads. Change tampons every few hours.
1. Don’t Douche
While the smell of a “summery fresh” vagina may be pleasant, douching happens to be a harmful habit for a vagina. Instead of keeping the vagina clean through douching, let it do all the work itself. The vagina naturally balances healthy bacteria and proper pH levels all by itself. Douching is counterintuitive because it eliminates a portion of the necessary healthy bacteria, which in turn alters the pH of the vagina and makes it vulnerable to infection.
Every woman’s vagina is different and has a unique, natural smell. Those who want to take the extra step in keeping their vagina and vulva clean can use a non-scented product to wash the labia majora. This is a great way to get clean quickly or remove excess sweat without altering the vagina’s natural pH.
2. Don’t Shave
Although some may be tempted to shave their pubic hair, there are actually many benefits to keeping it. While a little trimming is always okay, removing all pubic hair is not advisable. This hair helps protect the vagina from unwanted bacteria and reduces problems related to friction and sweating. Less shaving also means women are far less susceptible to ingrown hairs, cuts, and scrapes.
3. Scented Wipes and Vaginal Deodorants
Scented wipes and perfumed vaginal deodorants can interrupt the natural balance of a vagina. It is perfectly normal for a vagina to have a scent. In fact, a vagina’s scent can change during different periods within the reproductive cycle. Women can keep their vagina healthy simply by washing it with plain soap and water. If the vagina happens to smell stronger than usual, this can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, which can be easily treated with antibiotics.
It is always a smart idea to avoid perfumed and scented soaps. These items can easily disrupt the healthy balance of good bacteria and alter the vagina’s pH levels. Women should clean the area around their vagina every day, though it is only necessary to use unscented soap and water.
4. Practice Safer Sex
Since many bacteria and viruses can be introduced into the vagina during sex, it is always wise to practice safe sex by using a condom. Practicing safe sex protects against gonorrhea, genital herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV.
5. Cervical Screening
It is recommended for all women ages 25 to 64 to undergo cervical screening each year. Regular screenings help protect against abnormal changes in the cervix and can help detect and even prevent cancer.
Vaginal Secretions or Discharge
Vaginal secretion, otherwise known as discharge, is a natural product of the vagina and will vary depending on what part of the menstrual cycle a woman is in. During ovulation, discharge generally becomes thicker and milkier. Normal discharge will not have a strong smell or color, nor should it cause any itching or irritation.
Healthy bacteria called lactobacilli works to keep the vagina’s pH balance at less than 4.5, which helps prevents harmful bacteria from growing. It is when the vagina becomes less acidic and its pH increases that problems begin to occur, resulting in itching, abnormal discharge, bacterial vaginosis and thrush.
As women begin to age, they will notice changes in the look, feel and smell of their vagina. This is a perfectly natural occurrence that is due to hormones diminishing over time. Dr. Andrew Krinsky is more than delighted to help you with a revolutionary treatment. The MonaLisa Touch is a vaginal rejuvenation process that uses a laser to jumpstart the production of new collagen within the vagina and increase vaginal mucosa.
As the most effective non-surgical solution, the MonaLisa Touch treats the effects of vaginal atrophy – a common occurrence after childbirth and during menopause – and helps to tighten and rejuvenate the vagina. Contact us to learn more about this process and how we can help.