Vaginal Health: Common Issues, How To Best Care For Your Vagina
Keeping your vagina healthy is very important. Not only for the health of your body, but having an unhealthy vagina can be a very painful and uncomfortable experience. On top of all that, you want to feel your best from a confidence standpoint.
So if you feel as if you're having issues, you're in luck. In this article we will go over common issues and how you can best care for your vagina.
What Are Common Vaginal Health Issues?
Yeast infections are one of the most common vaginal health issues. 75% of women get yeast infections at least once in their lifetime. This is typically caused by an overgrowth of yeast that naturally occurs in the vagina.
A little bit lower than yeast infection probability, around 50-60% of women will experience a UTI at some point. UTIs happen from too much bacteria in the urinary tract, leading to infection.
Bacterial vaginosis is another common vaginal health issue that occurs when the bacteria in your vagina become imbalanced. When your estrogen is low, this can cause a shift in your pH balance and cause bacterial vaginosis.
An STD, trichomoniasis is a vaginal health issue that occurs when you have a bacterial infection caused by trichomonas vaginalis. This can be spread through unprotected sexual activity, and it can be very uncomfortable and painful if left untreated.
Thrush is from overgrowth of candida. This can occur due to a weakened immune system, or because of hormonal changes. If you notice that you have white patches on your vagina or vulva, then it could be thrush and you should speak with your doctor.
Bartholin's cysts are small growths that happen inside the Bartholin gland. This gland is within the opening of the vagina, and it creates a mucous-like liquid that is responsible for lubricating the vagina during sex. These cysts can get infected or inflamed which may cause a lot of pain.
Pelvic floor relaxation
Roughly one quarter of women get pelvic floor relaxation in their lives. Although it has the word relaxation in the name, it's far from relaxing. Pelvic floor relaxation is a condition where the muscles that support your pelvic organs, such as your bladder and uterus, become weakened. Because of this weakened state, the muscles are no longer able to support and keep pressure off of the urethra and rectum.
Signs and Symptoms of Vaginal Health Issues
We're not going to go into the symptoms of each of these issues, but we are going to go over a wide array of different symptoms which may indicate you have vaginal health issues. Some of them include:
Vaginal Discharge Change
Some degree of discharge in the vagina is normal, so if it's clear, and isn't an abnormal amount you should be ok. However, if you're dealing with a lot of constant discharge, or the color is different than usual, you may have an issue for concern. Another thing to look out for is burning or itching while the discharge occurs.
If you feel as if your vagina has been more dry than usual, you may have an issue. The most common reason for this is low estrogen, but there could be other reasons as well. This could also happen if you take medication, have bad lifestyle habits, are dealing with heavy stress and other factors.
If you feel as if your odor is way worse than usual, this could be a good sign something is going on. Bacterial vaginosis is the number one concern if you have a terrible odor, but it's not the only concern so it's important to check with your doctor.
Burning While You Pee
Another symptom of an unhealthy vagina is a burning sensation while you pee. This usually means you have a yeast infection but it could be due to STD's that we mentioned above as well. This could also be accompanied with feeling like you have to pee constantly or having to actually go all the time.
If your time of the month is all over the place, that's a big sign that something may be going on. This could be a sign of bad hormone health, which many things could contribute to, so it's important to get that checked out as soon as possible!
How To Support Your Vaginal Health
Now that we went over both common vaginal issues, along with common vaginal symptoms, we'll now go over how you can try and keep your vagina as healthy as possible. There are many things you could do in order to keep your vagina health. These things include:
Take A Good Probiotic and Other Solid Supplements
It's important to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your digestive system, especially if you have been sick or have been on antibiotics. A probiotic supplement can help with this by bringing back the natural diversity that can be taken away when taking medication. Probiotics are also particularly beneficial for vaginal health – they work to replace good bacteria that may be lost, keeping your vagina at its normal pH and preventing harmful bacteria from taking hold.
Taking a good probiotic can help prevent things like yeast infections, UTI's, bacterial vaginosis and the STD's we mentioned above.
Antibiotics however aren't the only thing that mess with the flora in our bodies and the good bacteria in our digestive system. Certain foods, lifestyle habits, sexual habits, stress and other factors can all contribute to messing with your gut health and vaginal health.
What Is a Good Supplement To Take?
There are certain strains of probiotic that are essential for vaginal health, these include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus. U.T Biotic contains both of these strains, which is why we recommend this supplement as a good option to help support your vaginal health.
Along with taking U.T Biotic, you should also consider taking Green Vibrance. Not only does it have the necessary strains (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus) for vaginal health, but it also has added nutrients from superfoods that can boost your overall health.
On top of that, if you're someone who enjoys your smoothies in the morning, Green Vibrance will help with that being it comes in a powder form (in comparison to U.T Biotic, which comes in a pill).
To take it a step further, there is Green Vibrance + Protein, which comes in a vanilla bean flavor. So if you're someone who likes to get their protein in as well, you could take this supplement as a one stop shop for all of your needs.
Practice Good Sexual Habits
Practicing good sexual health is another thing that could help your vaginal health thrive. When you have unprotected sex, bacteria can transfer from one person to another resulting in infection. This could come in the form of a yeast infection, UTI, and even STD's. Ways to practice good sexual habits include:
- Using protection (This is one of the most obvious ones)
- Making sure you wash up well after the fact. Don't use a douche, clean up with just light soap and water. Douches tend to strip your normal vaginal flora, which is no good.
- Last but not least, pee after sex if possible. Holding it in can hold harmful bacteria and increase the chances of getting a UTI.
- Make sure you're using the right protection, and always check that the substances within your lube are safe (if you use it). Many condoms and lubricants have spermicides which are not healthy for your vagina.
Practice Clean Habits In General
Sexual hygiene isn't the only thing you should focus on. You should also practice good hygiene all around. This includes:
- Taking a shower when you get home from the gym, or going for a run.
- Wiping from the front to the back, as wiping from the back can spread bacteria
- Not staying in the same pair of clothes for too long (bacteria could build up)
- Avoid underwear that is too tight, which could trap bacteria
- When it's your time of the month, change your tampon 3-4 times a day if you don't already (wipe well in between switching as well)
Some of these may sound like common sense, but getting caught up in the everyday life may make these things difficult to do at times. However, it's very important to squeeze them in and make sure you get them done.
Stay Well Hydrated
If you don't stay hydrated enough, your vagina will actually become dry. The more water you drink the more lubricated your vagina will be. Lubrication is important, because if your vagina is constantly dry, it will disturb the balance of good yeast and good bacteria. This will lead to infections like yeast infections and UTIs.
How Much Water Should Women Be Drinking Per Day?
According to the mayo clinic women should be drinking 2.7 liters of water per day. This is equivalent to 5.3 water bottles per day or a little bit more than 11 cups per day.
One way to guarantee that you get this amount of water in is by getting a 3 liter water bottle and drinking it throughout the day.
Do Kegel Exercises
One common vaginal problem we mentioned above is pelvic floor relaxation. Doing Kegel exercises will help combat this. Another thing Kegel exercises could help with is urinary incontinence, which is not being able to hold in your pee as easily as you'd like.
How Do You Perform Kegel Exercises (Quick Steps)
- The first step is to make sure your bladder is empty. This is because doing it with a full bladder may actually have the opposite effect of trying to make the muscles stronger.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, for a certain period of time. This should be anywhere from 3-10 seconds. This is essentially like trying to hold in your pee, without having to pee.
- Relax the muscles and take a much needed break for 10 seconds.
- Repeat this a few times.
Doing Things To Keep Your Hormones Balanced
There are many things that women can do to keep their hormones balanced. Some of the most important include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet, avoiding alcohol and drugs, getting enough sleep every night, and reducing stress levels as much as possible.
Keeping your hormones balanced is important for your vagina because if your estrogen levels drop, it can cause Bacterial Vaginosis. This is common in women that go through menopause but it is also common for women with bad lifestyle habits.
Eating disorders, not getting in the right vitamins and micronutrients, and other factors could cause your estrogen to be low, even at a younger age.
There are many different ways that women can keep their vagina healthy and strong. Some of the most important factors include practicing good sexual habits, staying well hydrated, doing Kegel exercises, and keeping your hormones balanced by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can help ensure the overall health and vitality of your vagina!
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