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Vaginal Hygiene: Vulvar Care Tips Every Woman Should Know

Do not scratch your vagina, instead visit a doctor if irritation occurs.

Several factors can have an impact on your vaginal health. Read on to know symptoms that entail a doctor's visit and tips to keep your vulva and vagina clean and healthy.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : August 20, 2021 2:50 PM IST

Maintaining a healthy vulva and vagina is an important part of a woman's overall health. Improper hygiene can cause discomfort down there, as well as infections that can affect your fertility and sexual desire. Here, Dr. Suhasini Inamdar, consultant obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhoood Hospital, Bangalore, further sheds light on the importance of vulvar and vagina care, as well as shares some tips on how to keep your vulva and vagina clean and healthy.

What is the vulva?

The vulva is the area of the female sex organ that lies outside the vagina. These organs include folds of sensitive tissue called labia. The labia have two parts. The outermost fold is called the labia majora. The second set of folds, called the labia minora, is surrounded by the labia majora. The vulva also consists of the pubis (mons pubis), a small round organ (the clitoris), and the opening of the vagina and urinary tract (urethra).

What exactly is vulvar care?

Vulva care is concerned with keeping the vulva dry and free of irritants. This can help to keep the vulva from becoming red, swollen, or inflamed. Because many infections enter the vagina, these guidelines also lay the groundwork for proper vaginal care.

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Factors that affect vaginal health

Several factors can have an impact on your vaginal health, including:

Pregnancy and childbirth These are two of the most stressful times in a woman's life. Menstruation ceases during pregnancy, and vaginal discharge might increase. At times it may get infected. During childbirth, vaginal tears are common. During childbirth, an episiotomy is performed, which is an incision made in the tissue of the vaginal opening. After having a baby, vaginal laxity can also occur.

Sex Unprotected sex can result in sexually transmitted infections. Vaginal trauma can occur because of a pelvic injury or forceful sex.

Psychological problems like depression and anxiety can lower sex drive, resulting in pain or discomfort during sex. Trauma, particularly past sexual abuse, can also result in painful sex.

Hormone levels Hormone fluctuations can have an impact on your vaginal health. Estrogen production, for example, decreases during breastfeeding and after menopause. Estrogen deficiency can cause the vaginal lining to thin (atrophy), resulting in both laxity and pain.

Contraception and feminine hygiene products The use of barrier contraceptives, such as condoms, can cause vaginal irritation.

Some vulvar care tips

Maintain vaginal PH balance, without douching. Douching can disrupt a healthy vaginal biome the bacterial makeup of your vagina and set the stage for bacterial infections by interfering with the pH levels of the vagina, reducing acidity, and disrupting a healthy vaginal biome.

  • Use enough lubricant but avoid using petroleum. Gel lubrication is an essential component of intercourse. Without it, the labia and vaginal skin can become irritated and chafed. While natural vaginal lubrication occurs during female arousal, some women do not produce enough natural lubricant. They should use an artificial lubricant, in this case, to reduce friction and increase pleasure.
  • Vaginal discharge is the vagina's natural cleansing mechanism. Avoid using douches unless your doctor has prescribed them.
  • Thoroughly rinse your underwear and use a mild detergent or soap if possible.
  • Please do not scratch your vagina, instead visit a doctor if irritation occurs.
  • It is not advisable to wear nylon pantyhose or panty girdles. They trap heat and moisture, making it an ideal environment for organisms to reproduce.

Diet for vaginal health

Drinking plenty of fluids and eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet are both beneficial to vaginal and reproductive health. In fact, certain foods may be beneficial in the treatment of vaginal health issues.

Symptoms that entail a doctor's visit

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding during or after menstruation, sex, or menopause
  • A cervix mass or a cervix bulge
  • Discomfort during intercourse.
  • Changes in the colour, odour, or quantity of vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal itching or redness

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