There are tons of common misconceptions about what you should do to maintain vaginal health. You might think you know everything about keeping your lady bits in tip-top shape, but you could be missing some key tips.
A healthy vagina is naturally acidic and contains rich quantities of beneficial bacteria to help fend off infections and maintain a normal pH level. It is also normal to secrete small amounts of discharge to stay clean, just like saliva is produced to help cleanse the mouth. Interference with these normal conditions can cause vaginal irritation or infection, so it’s good to know how to keep your vagina healthy.
Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina, caused by a disruption of the bacteria in the vagina. Experts report 40% of all types of vaginitis are caused by candida, a yeast-like fungus, and when it multiplies in the vaginal tract, it is called a “yeast infection”, and around 75% of women experience one at some point in their lives.
- Itching and burning in the vagina and vulva
- Vaginal discharge (small amounts are normal, however)
- Red, swollen, painful vaginal mucous membranes and external genitalia
- Satellite lesions (tender, red, pus-filled bumps, which can spread to the thighs and anus)
- Pregnancy causing increased heat, moisture, and hormonal shifts
- Corticosteroid use
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
- Birth control pills
- High sugar intake
- Wearing pantyhose, tight clothing, or noncotton underwear
- Menstruation — women report recurrent episodes of vaginitis immediately before and after their periods
First Form Of Defense: A Healthy Diet
You may not realize it, but a balanced, nutritious diet and drinking plenty of fluids are key to vaginal and reproductive health, as certain foods are very effective in treating vaginal health problems. Cranberry juice and yogurt help to prevent yeast infections, aid in their treatment and even protect against UTI’s. Eating more soy products that contain phytoestrogens or a weak form of estrogen, can aid natural lubrication.
- Cranberry Juice: This has long been hailed for its ability to prevent and relieve the symptoms of UTI’s. The acidic compounds in cranberry juice that help combat “bad” bacteria are not broken down during the digestive process. So these compounds make it through to the urinary tract, where they prevent “bad” bacteria from binding together to generate infection. In addition to drinking more cranberry juice, cut back on alcohol and caffeine, which irritate the bladder.
- Greek Yogurt & Kefir: Snacking on Greek yogurt and kefir with live cultures, otherwise known as Probiotics, helps boost the good bacteria down there which is HUGE for preventing annoying vaginal problems like yeast infections. Just be sure that you’re not eating the super-sugary kind because that makes you more susceptible to those infections.
- Foods Rich In Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an essential vitamin with antioxidant properties. In the body, it is commonly associated with healthy skin, but it also plays a role in the proper functioning of many of the body’s organs. You can get it from items like Tofu, Broccoli, Avocado, Spinach & other Greens, Seafood, Olive Oil, Squash, Pumpkin, Chili Powder, Mangoes & Tomatoes Kiwi, & Sunflower Seeds. Also nuts like Almond, Hazel Nuts.
- Water: Which pretty much goes without saying as water helps all functions of the body run more smoothly, especially where muscles and bodily fluids are concerned. Our mucous membranes are found in places such as the eyes, mouth, nose, and vagina, and these places need a well-hydrated body to function properly. Drinking the correct amount of water not only aids in natural lubrication, but it can also create a milder vaginal scent and taste.
Wear Cotton Underwear or Go Commando
I love it when I have done something for years, then I find out there is scientific proof of it being beneficial! I have officially “Gone Commando” since college. No scientific reason, I just got sick of wedgies, and always having to discreetly pull my underwear out of my crack. Finally one day I said “enough is enough” and I NEVER looked back!
Now it has been found that when it comes to your underwear selection, your vagina has a preference: cotton or nothing at all! That’s why most underwear comes with a thin strip of cotton fabric in the crotch. Since it breathes and absorbs moisture, it’s the ideal way to clothe your lady parts, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University. Also feel free to go commando so you can let things air out.
Douching can interfere with the vagina’s pH levels, reducing its acidity and setting the stage for bacterial infections. Normally, vaginal pH is about 3.8 to 4.5. If your vagina has a strong or unpleasant odor, see your doctor; a douche will only cover up the smell without curing the problem that’s causing it. Avoid using harsh soaps or cleansers on the vulva or inside the vagina, as these also can affect a healthy pH balance.
Perform Vaginal Workouts
Yep, I have a workout for EVERYTHING! I didn’t create this workout, but I know that doing Kegels is crucial for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. This is key in producing stronger, longer, mind-blowing orgasms, not to mention aiding bladder control. Include some Kegels every day to keep things hot in the bedroom, and to ward off the need of a pantyliner for leaks.
Sometimes when you’re about to “get it on”, it seems like your vagina missed the message. This is totally normal, but vaginal dryness can really impact you if you take certain medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, or hormonal birth control. It can also crop up after pregnancy and before menopause, so if this happens, make sure you’re taking steps to make sure you’re properly lubricated. Being too dry down there is obviously painful and can cause small tears or abrasions. Or just use lube to speed up the process and make sex even hotter.
Now I am not a fan of your standard “Lube”, and I have also heard of many people being allergic to them, some say that they taste bad, or that they cause infections or get sticky and nasty. Well, the perfect solution to all of this is using a natural item, that not only helps keep the area lubricated, but will absorb into the area leaving it soft, smooth, free of infection and that has a decent taste. Coconut oil is the clear winner here. It is natural, moisturizing, antiviral, antibacterial & anti-fungal so it won’t cause infection, and as a matter of fact, it can help fight an infection. Now coconut oil also tastes good and is healthy for you, but if you wanted to make it sweeter, add a bit of pure raw honey. Honey also fights infection because it too is antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. It also helps heal wounds, tastes great, and is healthy. These are two fabulous ways to keep your nether region healthy and to spice up your sex life!
As if we need another reason to “Wrap It Up”, knowing that rubbers are great at protecting against STDs and pregnancy. Certain studies show that using condoms helps keep your vagina’s pH level at the status quo so good bacteria, like lactobacilli, can survive in there. And this is super important since those little bacteria help prevent yeast infections, UTIs, and bacterial vaginosis. Just in case you needed another reason to wrap things up.
Healthy Suggestions and Tips