Maintaining good vaginal health is crucial for every woman. A healthy vagina helps to prevent infections, irritations, and other issues that can cause discomfort and impact overall well-being. However, many women may not know how to maintain a healthy vagina properly. This is why we at New Age Women’s Health wish to provide helpful tips and information on maintaining good vaginal health. From understanding the importance of hygiene and diet to recognizing signs of potential issues, women can take practical steps to ensure their vaginal health is optimal. 

Regular Gynecological Exam

Attending regular gynecological exams is essential for maintaining good vaginal and general health. These exams allow for the early detection of potential issues and provide an opportunity for healthcare providers to offer advice and guidance. 

During a routine gynecological visit, healthcare providers will conduct a pelvic exam. A pelvic exam includes looking inside the vagina and feeling inside the vagina to detect abnormalities within the cervix, uterus, or ovaries. They may also perform a Pap smear test to spot early signs of cervical cancer. Additionally, a regular gynecological exam allows women to discuss any concerns, such as changes in their menstrual cycle or pain during intercourse. 

Ditch the Douche and Forget About Soaps

Woman Talking to Doctor

Maintaining good vaginal health involves a variety of practices, including proper hygiene. The good news is it is relatively simple! It is important to note that certain hygiene practices, such as douching or using soap, can actually do more harm than good. 

Douching involves using water or other solutions inside the vagina, which is unnecessary for maintaining good vaginal health. In fact, douching can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, leading to an increased risk of infection. 

Mild soaps are okay to use on the vulva, which is the area of skin outside of the vagina. The vulva includes the labia as well. On the other hand, the vagina, the area that is internal and not visible, is self-cleaning and will not benefit from soaps. Actually, using soap or other products to clean the vagina can be irritating and disrupt the natural pH balance. While it may seem like the inside of the vagina should be cleaned or needs to be cleaned, gynecologists highly recommend against it! The majority of vaginal cleaning products should be avoided. Luckily, the vagina naturally “cleans itself” by maintaining a balance of normal and healthy bacteria.

Practice Safe Sex

Practicing safe sex is crucial for maintaining good vaginal health. Unprotected sex, particularly with multiple partners, can increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which can have serious health consequences. Some STIs can cause symptoms such as itching, burning, and discharge, while others may not present with any symptoms at all. If left untreated, STIs can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and even certain types of cancer. 

To protect against STIs, use barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, during sexual activity. Condoms are highly effective at preventing the transmission of STIs and are widely available. Additionally, getting tested for STIs regularly is important, particularly if you have multiple sexual partners or engage in unprotected sex. Getting tested and treated for STIs early on can prevent complications and improve overall vaginal health. 

Keeping Some Pubic Hair Can Make a Difference

While personal grooming preferences vary, please note that keeping some pubic hair can actually be beneficial for good vaginal health. Pubic hair serves as a protective barrier for the vulva, which is the external part of the female genitalia. Without this protective layer, the skin of the vulva can become irritated and more susceptible to infection. Additionally, pubic hair helps to regulate moisture in the area, which can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. 

While it is possible to remove pubic hair through shaving or waxing, be mindful of the potential risks. Shaving or waxing can cause skin irritation, ingrown hairs, and other issues that can then impact vaginal health. If you do choose to remove pubic hair, use a sharp, clean razor and avoid shaving over irritated skin. Remember to keep the area clean and dry to prevent infections. Ultimately, the decision to keep or remove pubic hair is a personal one, but it is certainly helpful to be aware of the potential risks regarding vaginal health.

Wear Breathable Clothes

Tight-fitting clothing, such as skinny jeans or leggings, can create a warm and moist environment ideal for the growth of bacteria and fungi, leading to infections. This can be especially problematic during hot and humid seasons when sweat can further increase moisture in the area. To prevent this, wear loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen, which allow air to circulate and moisture to evaporate. This can help keep the vaginal area cool and dry, reducing the risk of infection. 

Avoid wearing underwear made from synthetic materials, as they can trap moisture and cause irritation. Instead, choose underwear made from breathable fabrics such as cotton or bamboo. Additionally, it is recommended to change out of damp or sweaty clothing as soon as possible, as this can further increase the risk of infection. By wearing breathable clothing, women can help maintain good vaginal health and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi in the vaginal area.

Consider Vaginal Estrogen

Woman Talking to Doctor

Vaginal estrogen is a treatment option that can be used to maintain good vaginal health in women who are experiencing symptoms related to vaginal atrophy, a condition in which the vaginal tissues become thinner, drier, and less elastic. Vaginal atrophy is very common in perimenopause and menopause. Vaginal estrogen can be prescribed in various forms, including creams, tablets, or rings that are inserted directly into the vagina. The estrogen helps to increase blood flow to the area and stimulate the growth of healthy vaginal tissue. Vaginal estrogen can help relieve symptoms such as vaginal dryness, itching, burning, and painful intercourse. Additionally, it can help prevent vaginal infections and urinary tract infections. 

Keep in mind, though, that vaginal estrogen should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as it is not appropriate for all women. Women with a history of certain cancers, blood clots, or other health conditions may not be able to use vaginal estrogen safely. It is also important to discuss potential side effects and risks with a healthcare provider before starting treatment. 

Schedule Your Exam

By following a few simple tips, women can keep their vaginal area healthy and free from infection. Regular gynecological exams are an important part of maintaining good vaginal health, as they can help identify potential issues before they become more serious. By prioritizing good vaginal health, women can feel confident and comfortable in their bodies and enjoy a higher quality of life.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and book an appointment at New Age Women’s Health. We take great pride in customizing our care to the specific needs of each patient and keeping abreast of the latest developments in medicine and science.