Proper vaginal health should be on the top of the priority list for any woman. An acidic environment and the presence of healthy bacteria is a sign of a healthy vagina. The acidic environment (pH 3.8-4.5) is mainly due to the presence of lactic acid which provides a naturally protective environment around it. This makes sure that the vagina is not exposed to unwarranted infections. Just like your saliva helps keep your mouth clean, the vaginal discharge is present to disinfect the vagina. If there is an imbalance in any of these processes, it causes irritation or infection. Here are some ways to prevent it:
- Clean yourself well after using the lavatory from front to back- vagina to anus. This ensures that the vagina is saved from bacterial contamination.
- Get into the habit of regularly changing your sanitary pads, tampons (ideally every 4 to 6 hours) during menstruation to prevent any infection.
- When you are not menstruating, refrain from the use of panty liners or pads as they keep the vaginal area moist and can harbor the growth of infection-causing microorganisms.
- Visit your gynecologist for a routine check-up to rule out any hidden disease.
- Report any foul-smelling, thick, blood-smeared or yellow or green vaginal discharge immediately.
- Develop a good immune system by following a healthy diet and exercise regimen. A good immune system protects you from any infection.
- Evade the use of harsh soaps, detergents, or perfumed soaps in your intimate area. Also avoid scrubbing hard as the skin around the area is very sensitive.
- Stop Douching. Douching may mask the unpleasant odor from the vagina, but it also flushes out the healthy bacteria and disturbs the pH balance.
- Wear comfortable cotton undergarments and steer clear of fancy, synthetic ones. They may cause irritation.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes and stay away from tight clothing as they prevent air circulation.
- Going in for regular hair removal or trimming of the pubic hair keeps the area clean.
- Urinate and clean your private parts well before and after having intercourse. Then dry yourself.
- Maintain a healthy weight as obese women fall prey to infections more frequently.
- Using condoms during sex helps in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Lastly, maintain a monogamous relationship to avoid cross infection.
Keep yourself free from infection by following these simple steps.