How to Keep Vagina Clean and Safe
The way vagina is designed is very sensitive which makes it maintain cleanliness through discharge (natural secretions). It is however important to understand some ways to help make the vagina clean and healthy without any vagina wipe or douches.
Literally, vagina is a tube of muscle that is present in woman’s body which flows from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vaginal opening. The vaginal opening is usually surrounded by vulva which is often regarded as the extra sex organs. When you are careful about your daily health, it will help you maintain a healthy vagina.
According to a consultant in urogynaecology at University College Hospital, London who also doubled as the spokesperson for Wellbeing of Women, Dr Suzy Elneil, she reiterated that maintaining good overall health is a key way to having good vaginal health. Some of the activities that can help maintain overall health according to her include balanced diet and physical activity such as exercise.
She stated that normal exercise can aid good vaginal function just as walking and running assist the pelvic floor to tone up and enable good overall health. This article shall reveal more about what you need to know and do in order to maintain healthy and clean vagina.
Vaginal discharge or secretions
It is not a strange thing for a woman to produce clear or white discharge from the vagina aside normal period derived from natural menstrual cycle. The mucus is naturally derived from the neck side of the womb which is known as cervix.
Dr Elneil says “Vaginal discharge isn’t always a bad or harmful sign”. It is observed that there exists a myth that white discharge or clear secretion is associated to sexually transmitted infections. The change in the amount of discharge from the vagina can be 100% hormonal which implies that it is associated to the menstrual cycle, menopause, or pregnancy.
The amount of discharge will varies throughout the menstrual cycle and by the time of ovulation (whereby the ovary releases an egg), the discharge will become thicker and stretchy just like raw egg white. If you have a healthy discharge, there won’t be any bad odor or color but you might be experiencing wetness that is uncomfortable. You don’t really need to have any itching or soreness around your vagina.
In case you are seeing changes in your discharge that are strange and abnormal to you, it might be change in color or smell or itching, then it is important to consult your doctor as you might have an infection.
Presence of bacteria in the vagina
There are numerous bacteria present in the vagina and it is their duty to protect the vagina. The spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Professor Ronnie Lamont stated that the vagina usually possesses a lot of bacteria than other parts of the body after the bowel and there is a purpose for the presence of those bacteria.
The harmless bacteria inside the vagina can;
- Offer numerical dominance whereby they are more than other harmful bacteria that might penetrate to the vagina.
- Ensure there is pH balance of vagina
- Helps to produce bacteriocins which are natural antibiotics that can limit or get rid of harmful bacteria from getting to the vagina.
- Produce a substance that can block invading bacteria from sticking to the vagina walls.
In a situation whereby the balance of bacteria is distorted, there can be infection and inflammation. The pH level of vagina is maintained to the normal level (< pH 4.5) by bacteria known as lactobacilli. It also fights against the growth of other organisms in the vagina.
When the pH level of the vagina increases, it becomes acidic and hence reduces the quality of lactobacilli which enable other harmful bacteria to grow. This can lead to infections such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis with symptoms like itching, irregular discharge, and irritation.
Washing of your vagina
It is a good thing to avoid the use of perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics while washing your vagina. Those products can really affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina and lead to irritation. It is rather recommended to make use of plain and no-perfumed soaps to wash the areas around the vagina in a gentle style every day. The natural discharge will enable vagina to clean itself inside your body.
Dr Elneil says “It is very helpful to always wash the vagina more than once in a day during the menstrual period”. She explained that it is very essential to ensure that the perineal area between the vagina and anus is very clean while noting that good perineal hygiene is very expedient by washing the area at least once in a day with the use of normal bathing routines.
The use of douches is to flush water up into the vagina whilst clearing out vaginal secretions. Douches are being used for some women to clean the vagina which is very inappropriate. A douche can affect the normal bacteria present in the vagina and it is therefore necessary to avoid using it.
Scented wipes and vaginal deodorants
The use of perfumed products to wash vagina is also harmful. It is rather essential to wash it with clean water and a plain soap in order to keep it healthy and clean. If you are concerned about your vagina smells, it is essential to consult your medical doctor because it might be an infection that deserves treatment.
You can contact some virus and harmful bacteria during sexual intercourse. They include HIV, syphilis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital warts, and genital herpes. It is therefore recommended to make use of condom anytime you want to have sex in order to prevent those infections.
In UK, it is expected of all women within the age of 25-64 for cervical screening. With such screening, it will be easy to notice and identify any abnormal changes in the cervical and if possible, treated to stop cancer from developing.
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