All women should pay attention to vulvovaginal health because it is an integral part of overall health. If the vagina is susceptible to infection or disease, it can affect a woman’s general well-being. Therefore, vulvovaginal health should never be ignored. So how can you keep your vulvovaginal health in check?
What’s Involved In Vulvovaginal Health
Vulvovaginal health involves the health of the vagina and the vulva. The vulva is the outer portion of the genitals and includes the labia majora (outer folds), labia minora (inner folds), and the vestibule.
Steps That Can Be Taken To Keep Vulvovaginal Health In Check
- Cleanse The Vulva
Regular cleansing of the vulva will promote vulvovaginal health. The vaginal secretions that emanate from the cervix and vaginal walls help to keep the vagina clean. However, it’s necessary to cleanse the vulva regularly as secretions can accumulate in the labial folds.
If this build-up is not taken care of, it can cause the spread of yeast and bacteria that can irritate the skin. The skin of the vulva is very delicate, so it’s essential to use a gentle cleanser when cleaning, preferably a hypocontactant soap.
- Avoid Irritating Hygiene Products
Avoid using harsh soaps as they can irritate the vulva skin. Hypocontactant soaps are ideal because they don’t contain any dyes, fragrances, or parabens that can provoke a reaction. Many vulvovaginal symptoms occur due to exposure to chemical irritants in hygiene products such as soaps, douches, and creams.
The experts in vaginal healthcare at Fowler GYN International recommend the FeminaRx Pure Skin Care Collection for cleaning the external genitalia tissues. FeminaRx is a hypocontactant line of products, so no chemical irritants are included.
- Pay Attention To Changes In The Vagina
When the vagina is in a healthy state, it has specific characteristics. There is a small amount of discharge, and the vaginal odor is mild and unoffensive. Patients should pay attention to any changes in the amount, color, or odor of the discharge, as these shifts could indicate the presence of a disease or disorder.
Vaginal symptoms such as burning, pain, or abnormal discharge should be evaluated and treated promptly by a gynecologist or primary care physician.
- Protect The pH Balance
A healthy vagina has both good and harmful bacteria but is dominated by healthy bacteria called lactobacilli. Lactobacilli keep the pH of the vaginal microflora slightly acidic at a pH level between 3.5 and 4.5. Vaginal health is more likely at this level because friendly bacteria thrive in an acidic environment and suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast.
Activities such as douching can alter the pH level of the vagina and disrupt the bacterial balance. A change in the bacterial milieu can result in a bacterial or yeast infection or a more serious condition like vulvodynia.
- Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet and drinking plenty of fluids can contribute to vaginal health. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, as well as those rich in probiotics, are good options. However, it’s best to stay away from refined foods as they can affect bacterial balance.
- Get Regular Gynecologic Checks
Having regular gynecological appointments can also help to keep vulvovaginal health in check. It is always best to discuss any concerns you may be having with your doctor. Therefore, be sure to choose a doctor that you trust and feel comfortable discussing intimate issues with.