To achieve great health, every individual part of our body must be in great health. One part that often gets overlooked, and never really spoken about in women’s social circles, is the health of a woman’s vagina. Some women reading this may have already experienced vaginal health problems at some point in their life. This article can still be of use for those that have experienced negative vaginal health to help stop it reoccurring, or to help prevent it in those that have not yet experienced poor vaginal health. After all, prevention is the only cure for every health problem.
Some basic rules to go about achieving a healthy vagina:
#1 Never Scrub the Vagina or Use Soap on the Vagina
A healthy vaginal pH is between 3.8 and 4.5 on the scale, making the vagina quite acidic. But most soap bars have a pH of 5.5 – so you can see this is far less acidic than what the vagina needs. This is one of the simplest reasons that soaps, shower gels and most products (even those designed specifically for cleaning the vagina) cause vaginal dryness, itching, redness, inflammation and even thrush. When washing your vagina, use only your hand with warm water. Even sponges and wash mittens can be too harsh on the delicate skin of the vagina, and could cause an injury, leaving you open to infection. When washing, it is suggested to keep the water running down the vagina, and not directly sprayed into the vagina, else this could push negative bacteria into the vagina. Clean once a day only, but up to twice a day during your menstruation. Washing the vagina more than this will not make it cleaner, but will in fact increase your chances of a health problem arising.
#2 Choose Organic Tampons and Sanitary Towels
The average woman will get through approximately 11,000 tampons and/or sanitary towels in her lifetime. Worryingly, most are currently store bought sanitary towels and tampons that are chlorine bleached, and made from either mix of cotton and rayon, or are just 100% rayon. Rayon is an unnatural synthetic fibre that is usually bleached to make it better at absorbing what it comes into contact with. During the chlorine bleaching process, dioxin is produced, and research suggests that dioxin is a chemical that disrupts the endocrine system that is capable of mimicking oestrogen and then disrupts hormonal function within the body. This deadly chemical has even been linked to breast cancer, weakening the immune system, as well as many reproductive and developmental problems. Stick to using certified organic cotton sanitary wear because chlorine bleaching is not allowed in the manufacturing of any of these products. Remember to also change both tampons and sanitary towels every 3 hours to prevent getting an infection.
#3 You & Your Partner Should Wash Intimate Parts Before & After Sex
To prevent spreading unwanted bacteria it is also vital both partners wash before and after sex. Whilst remembering when you do wash to wipe from the front to back (never the other way around), including when going to the toilet.
#4 Invest in a Good Probiotic
The inside of our vaginas need lots of good bacteria (known as probiotics) to help keep the bad (disease causing bacteria) at bay. Lots of positive results have come out of the extensive research into the benefits of probiotics, with even doctors now prescribing them to patients. Ensure your probiotic has the Lactobacillus probiotic strain in it as this has been found to support vaginal freshness and maintain healthy micro flora balance. They are not to be used long term, but ideally should be taken for one month at first, and thereafter in two week periods with a month break after each course. Beneficial flora tablets can help treat thrush, and could help improve the common fishy odour.
#5 Wear Protection when Having Sex
Using a natural condom during sex is probably the easiest and safest way to avoid sexual transmitted infections. Even better though is to get to know your partner before diving into any sexual adventure. (infections can also be transmitted orally). Get to know each other, talk about your sexual history and then take a conscious decision whether to sexually involve yourself with this person or not.
#6 Use Natural Lubricant & Insert Only Clean Objects into the Vagina
Just like we prefer our men’s bit to be clean before they enter us, the same must be applied to the items we choose to insert when we wish to masturbate. This is just as important when it comes to choosing a type of lubricant. Some lubricants contain toxic chemicals, which because you are inserting directly it into the vagina will be absorbed quickly into our bodies, without knowing the full effect and damage they can cause. According to a study on KY Jelly (which contains the disinfectant clorhexidine), it killed all species of friendly bacteria that are part of the normal vaginal flora. Also, just as alarming is a well know waterbased personal lubricant called ‘Astroglide’, has been found to be and I quote “the most toxic to cells and tissues and caused almost as much damage as nonoxynol-9, the spermicide whose use has been shown to increase susceptibility to HIV.” So, the best thing to do is research your ingredients and become a well-informed lubricant user, ensuring you choose one with natural and organic ingredients that have no known side effects.
#7 A Good Clean, Organic Diet
Nothing has more of a direct effect, for good or for bad, on our health, than the type of diet we choose to consume daily. So, when it comes to creating a healthy vagina, healthy hormones and great reproductive health – choose a diet that is certified organic, filled with a variety of vegetables, clean animal protein, purified clean water, a little fruit, and avoids all forms of refined sugar.
#8 Monitor Any Changes or Imbalances to Your Vagina
Firstly, it should be stressed that to know what is normal for your individual vagina; you should be feeing and looking at your vagina every month, preferably at the same time in your menstrual cycle. Things to be aware of are changes in odour, discharge, and appearance. What is definitely not considered healthy is regular itching, redness and pain during intercourse. Please speak to your chosen health professional if any of these changes apply to you. The sooner you speak up, the sooner you can feel great.