Vaginal Health

Amanda Olson - DPT
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Amanda Olson, DPT, PRPC

The vagina, also known as the birth canal, connects with the uterus via the cervix. Not to be confused with the vulva which is the outer part of the female genitals and consists of the labia majora, labia minora, urethra, clitoris, and mons pubis. 

Keeping the vagina healthy is a crucial part of every woman’s health and wellness. Not only does a healthy vagina keep bacterial infections at bay, but it also allows women to enjoy sex with more confidence, lower stress levels, and avoid fertility struggles.  

Read on to understand the early signs of vaginal problems and some everyday tips to keep the vagina healthy. 

Signs & Symptoms of Vaginal Problems

Firstly, it is important to understand that at the sign of any of the following symptoms, it is always best to consult with a medical professional: 

  • A change in the color, odor, or amount of vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal redness, irritation, or itching
  • Bleeding or spotting between menstrual cycles, after sex, or after menopause
  • A mass or noticeable change in the appearance of the vulva
  • Pain during intercourse

In the absence of any serious symptoms, these are some steps that all women can take to keep their vagina healthy and thriving. 

Tips for Keeping Your Vagina Healthy

Avoid Douching

Although it might seem hygienic, vagina douching merely eliminates the good bacteria known as lactobacilli and disrupts the pH of the vagina.This, in turn, makes women more susceptible to vaginal infections. You can learn more about healthy bacteria and probiotics for vaginal health.

Vaginas are naturally designed to keep themselves clean and maintain a healthy pH balance. For cleanliness, a daily wash of the outer genital area with warm water and unscented soap or gel is sufficient. 

Wear Breathable Underwear

Underwear can have a substantial impact on vaginal health. 

Loose-fitting, cotton underwear is highly recommended. Cotton underwear, especially organic cotton, has moisture-wicking properties to limit wetness that might otherwise enhance bacterial growth. 

Limiting this bacterial growth greatly reduces the risk of vaginitis that causes itching, irritation, vaginal discharge, and foul odors. Types of vaginitis include bacterial vaginosis (BV), trichomoniasis, and yeast infections. 

Frequently changing wet swimsuits is also widely recommended by women’s health experts to maintain a healthy vagina. 

Try This for Treating Vaginitis

Should one of the above types of vaginitis occur, natural supplements like Boric Acid Suppositoriesfrom Intimate Rose, work quickly to soothe irritation and rebalance the vaginal microflora. 

However, for bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, it is best to use Boric Acid Supplements in conjunction with an antibiotic treatment prescribed by a doctor. 

Current research also looks positive in confirming that Boric Acid Suppositories, when taken daily as a regular supplement, can prevent recurring vaginitis.  

Be Sexually Responsible

One of the most important aspects of vaginal health is being sexually responsible. 

If a monogamous relationship is not for you, practicing safe sex with new partners will help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

When using condoms, check the ingredients to avoid using any that contain spermicides, which can kill good bacteria in the vagina. 

Peeing after sex helps to flush any harmful bacteria from the urethra and significantly aids in reducing the occurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs). It is also important to note that women should always wipe from back to front to avoid any feces from entering the urethra. 

When using sex toys, make sure they are bought from reputable suppliers who use medical-grade materials and ensure they are thoroughly cleaned after each use.

Most importantly, always get tested for STIs after engaging in unprotected sex. 

Pelvic Floor & Vaginal Muscle Relaxation

Pelvic floor muscles are postural muscles that support the vagina and pelvic organs, as well as prevent prolapse and urine or feces from leaking. Because these muscles work all day every day, they can sometimes become tense or tight. 

Feeling stressed, previous trauma or sexual abuse can also cause the pelvic floor and vaginal muscles to tighten uncomfortably. As well as conditions like endometriosis, vaginismus, bladder infections, and interstitial cystitis.  

Try This For Pelvic Floor Relaxation

Pelvic floor relaxation techniques, diaphragmatic breathing, and yoga can all help to relieve tightness in the pelvic and vaginal muscles. However, pelvic floor physical therapy (PT), a specialized form of physical therapy, is suggested for more acute pain or traumatic injuries. 

Pelvic floor physiotherapists are also qualified to recommend medical devices for home use, like these Vaginal Dilators from Intimate Rose. 

Hormonal Imbalance

At certain stages in a woman’s life cycle, hormones can become unbalanced. During menopause, for example, the ovaries begin to reduce the production of estrogen, causing a hormonal imbalance that can affect the vagina. 

Low levels of estrogen can cause the vaginal walls to thin, making sex more painful for some women. 

Try This to Rebalance Female Hormones

Once again, natural remedies can be used to help rebalance the hormones. Vitex, a Mediterranean herb that was used by ancient civilizations like the Greeks and Romans, is still widely used today to improve women’s reproductive health. 

By helping to slow down excessive hormone secretion, as well as boosting the production of insufficient hormones,a regular vitex supplement like Vitex Chasteberry Supplementfrom Intimate Roseis known to significantly aid in maintaining healthy hormone levels and vaginal health. 

What Else Can Affect Vaginal Health?

Certain medications can have side effects on vaginal health. Should you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms when taking medication, consult with your doctor about treatment. Additionally, some foods are better for vaginal pH and overall health than others.

Pregnancy and childbirth can also have implications on the vagina. Vaginal discharge can often change or increase during pregnancy. Vaginal tears are a regular occurrence during childbirth. And natural childbirth can also reduce the toning of the vaginal muscles. 

These changes are easily treated and reversible.

Conclusion

Although keeping your vagina healthy is an ongoing process of daily care and attention, the steps are relatively easy to sustain.

However, it is important to note that not all vaginal conditions can be prevented or treated at home. And it is always best to speak with a doctor regarding any unusual symptoms or vaginal changes.  

References 

National Center for Biotechnology Information – Clinicians use of Intravaginal Boric Acid Maintenance Therapy for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis and Bacterial Vaginosis -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6878170/

Epidemiology – Condom Use and its Association With Bacterial Vaginosis and Associated Vaginal Microflora - https://journals.lww.com/epidem/Fulltext/2007/11000/Condom_Use_and_its_Association_With_Bacterial.9.aspx

National Center for Biotechnology Information - Comparison of Vitex agnus-castus Extracts with Placebo in Reducing Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized Double-Blind Study - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6887765/

National Center for Biotechnology Information - Pelvic Floor Dysfunction - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559246/