It’s probably safe to say that you don’t give your vagina much thought except when you’re having sex or it’s that time of the month. I’m just the same, I just assume it’s fine and is doing what it needs to unless I have definite signs something is wrong. Even if I am fairly sure something/s wrong I still leave it for a while to see if it clears up on its own. Why? Cos it’s icky!
I know it’s stupid and it’s just a body part like any other but it feels different doesn’t it? Maybe it’s a pride thing – like it reflects on us badly if our lady-garden is not pristine! We need to change this though because not focus on the health of our vagina can have much more serious implications than not winning the “best-kept garden” award!
Trust me there’s nothing that’s going to kill the mood faster in a romantic situation than a strong odor of fish! A range of infections, including STIs, can lead to your vagina smelling this way and are often a sign something’s wrong. If you don’t want your date to suddenly remember a pressing engagement elsewhere keeping things spick and span down there needs to be a priority.
Many of the imbalances and infections that affect your vagina will lead to itching. It may not even be an imbalance – sweating, wearing underwear that’s too tight, or using perfumed soaps can also cause it. There’s nothing worse than being at an important meeting/in church/visiting grandma and trying not to keep wriggling in your seat because you’re so damned itchy! Almost all of us ladies have had a yeast infection at some point so you know it’s true.
Vaginitis (inflammation and infection of the vagina) can also cause pain, especially while using the bathroom. Another reason to ensure if you have any strange discharge, redness, or itching you consult a doctor.
It’s rare but untreated bacterial vaginosis (BV), as well as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can damage your reproductive system and cause infertility. This can happen if the infection spreads to your Fallopian tubes causing scarring. It is this scarring that puts you at greater risk of ectopic pregnancy and difficulties getting pregnant.
As up to 50% of women with BV have no symptoms and frequently have very mild symptoms from gonorrhea it’s vital you get to know what a healthy vagina feels like for you. It may sound weird but try making friends with your vagina today! If you know what it normally looks, smells, and feels like you’re much more likely to notice any changes.
This is not intended to scare you and let me stress this is rare but yes, death is possible. If you leave an infection long enough in any part of the body there’s a chance it could spread. In extremely rare cases the infected yeast, also known as candida, spreads into the bloodstream. This condition is most likely to affect women who have an already weakened immune system but it is fatal in 75% of cases so please let’s never ignore the symptoms again thinking “it’s just thrush.”
Ok lecture over! I think it’s important that we always have all the facts when it comes to our health but particularly our vaginal health which can sometimes be overlooked. The chances are high you will suffer from thrush or BV at some point in your life – oh the joys of being a woman, right? Most of the time over the counter medication will sort it out and you’ll be back to normal. If not, a trip to your doctor or sexual health clinic is all you need. To help your vagina out though and prevent problems try following these simple steps:
- Wear breathable underwear that isn’t too tight and is preferably made of cotton
- Avoid using any highly perfumed products down there
- Don’t wear underwear, pantyhose, or trousers that are too tight every day. Try something looser at least 3 days a week.
- Do not use a douche – they do not work and make actually cause damage
Do these things and you and your vagina will remain best friends for life.