Before we get into the habits and steps let us try to differentiate vagina versus vulva. People seems to be using the word interchangeably.
Vagina vs Vulva
Vagina is also known as the birth canal for those who bear children. The vagina connects with the cervix and, through that, the uterus.
The ovaries, located on either side of the uterus, release eggs in fertile people. These eggs travel down the fallopian tubes to the uterus, where, in conception, they meet up with sperm for fertilization and implant along the uterine wall.
When fertilization doesn’t happen, menstruation does. Until the egg is released, the uterus builds up extra lining to provide the most hospitable environment possible for a fertilized egg. When an egg isn’t fertilized, though, this lining has to go somewhere. So it exits the body during your period until menopause or any number of factors affect menstruation.
Vulva is the outside portion of the female genitals — the part you can see. It consists of the mons pubis, clitoris, urethra, labia majora, and labia minora. The labia majora is the outer fold of the genitals, while the labia minora is the inner fold. These parts help protect the clitoris, which is extremely sensitive — even more so than the head of a penis. And like the head of a penis, the clitoris can be a major pleasure center! In fact, many people with vaginas need clitoral stimulation to orgasm.
Now let us try to go over the habits that we need to practice to keep it healthy.
Do regular screenings
As the age increase the more regular you need to do pap smear and to see the gynecologist. Also for younger women it is advisable to get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination to avoid cervical cancer risk.
It is important to demand a safe sex with your partner to avoid sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphillis and HIV, and to avoid unplanned pregnancies. If your partner is latex allergic there are other options available.
Water to clean
Vagina is a self cleaning organ. Avoid commercial cleaners as it could cause irritations. Using harsh chemicals and prepacked tissues can disrupt its natural cleaning process. These products claim to have a good effect on your vagina yet there are no clinical studies that proves it. If you must limit yourself with very gentle and natural cleaner.
Don’t impress your gynecologist
Don’t over prepare your vagina before seeing your gynecologist. A shower is all you need before the appointment.
Use natural lubricants
There are options that you can use to moisturize, you can use either olive oil or coconut oil to keep it smooth and lubricated. If you have allergies or sensitivity especially with condoms you can settle on silicone or water based lubricants.
Don’t ignore post menopausal bleeding
Postmenopausal bleeding is a discharge that happens a year or two after your last menstrual period. If you notice or experience this after menopause it is advisable to check with your doctor as this is a sign of cancer, vaginal dryness or polyps.
Prolapse and incontinence are not usually dangerous
Pelvic prolapse, which means that the support for the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum has weakend due to aging and multiple pregnancies. This usually results to poor bladder control but does not need any operations or medication. If it disturbs you then you can try doing pelvic floor exercises.
Consider vaginal estrogen
As you go through menopause, it might be worthwhile to use vaginal estrogen, which is available as a cream, tablet, capsule, or insert.“Vaginal estrogen can help prevent or reverse changes that occur with age like painful sex (due to thinning vaginal walls and less elasticity) and increased risk for UTIs [urinary tract infections] (due to pH changes as the vagina becomes less acidic),” says Dr. Goje. While your vagina does a great job of keeping itself clean and healthy, you should see your healthcare provider if you notice any of the following:
- Pain during intercourse.
- A mass or bulge in your vagina.
- A change in the color, odor, or amount of vaginal discharge.
- Vaginal redness or itching.
- Vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex, or after menopause.
Keep the pubes
Pubic hair protects the vulva from bacteria and viruses. It shields and cushions the sensitive skin it covers, protecting it from friction during sex. As long as it’s regularly cleaned, pubic hair poses no health risk.Some women feel that having pubic hair leads to more moisture and odor and prefer to completely remove it via shaving, waxing, or electrolysis. Others feel that keeping it groomed and using scissors to trim, helps alleviate those problems. And others prefer to leave it au naturel. Really the choice is yours.Shaving can cause razor burn, redness, itching when the hair grows back, and infection from ingrown hairs. Cuts and nicks can also introduce unwanted bacteria. Do not use hair removal cream, which burns off hair and can be especially harsh on the vulva’s sensitive skin.
Wear breathable garments
Breathable clothing and fabrics make happy vaginas. Cotton underwear is great. It has moisture-wicking properties to limit the amount of wetness that can promote bacterial growth. Changing out of wet clothing quickly can help limit issues, as well. Regardless of the kind of underwear you like, just make sure to change it daily.
Consider using vaginal suppositories
Vaginal suppositories are used as birth control and treatment for fungal infections and vaginal dryness. This is considerably helpful in targeting the infections more abruptly. Most medical experts would suggest a boric acid vaginal suppository if any other antibiotics does not work to fix the yeast infection.
A lack of lactobacilli and an overgrowth of some other microbe can cause an imbalance in the vagina.Vaginal imbalances can cause yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
Overall, keeping your vagina healthy is easy. Vagina is a self cleaning organ. Some maybe not used to keeping things extra clean. The word for keeping it clean and healthy is mild. Always use very mild ingredients to avoid irritation.