10 Vaginal Health Mistakes You Could Be Making
Did you know that your vagina is quite self-sufficient? It’s self-cleaning while also producing bacteria to protect you from infections. However, Choma, as much as your vagina is self-sufficient, there are certain bad habits that could affect your vaginal health and can lead to discomfort and even infections. Here are 10 vaginal health mistakes you need to avoid making.
Cleaning the inside of your vagina
You might think that you need to clean the inside of it by douching (squirting/spraying liquids up the vagina to rinse it) or by putting anything up your vagina to clean it. However, doing this could actually have the opposite effect. You could end up washing out the good bacteria (the bacteria that keeps you from getting infections) which would then lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria - putting you at risk of infections. Douching can also cause vaginal dryness.
Not cleaning your vulva
The vagina is self-cleaning, but the vulva still needs healthy attention. When you hear the word vagina you might think about the outside part of your private part. But the external part of the vagina is called the vulva and that does need to be cleaned. Be careful of using scented soaps or body wash because that could irritate the sensitive skin of your vulva. The best thing to clean your vulva with is water and a washcloth. If you use soap, use a very gentle, non-scented soap. If you use anything and it starts to irritate your skin or you start noticing infections, stop using it Choma.
Read more about feminine hygiene here.
Ignoring the itch
Simply scratching the constant itch doesn’t solve the problem. An itchy vulva can be caused by many things: wearing the wrong underwear, using a certain product, recent sex, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), vaginal dryness etc. Instead of ignoring the itch, it’s best to try to understand what is causing it. If you have an itch that just doesn’t seem to be going away, see your healthcare practitioner at your nearest clinic about it.
Staying in your sweaty clothes
Sitting in tight, sweaty clothes can increase your risk of getting a fungal infection. Vaginal yeast infections, for example, are common fungal infections caused by an overgrowth of yeast. And since yeast thrives in warm, moist environments, sitting in sweaty clothes increase your risk.
Self diagnosing and self treating
Yes, yeast infections are common Choma. Once you’ve gotten one, it’s easy to assume that similar symptoms will always mean yeast infections. There are a few infections that are similar to yeast infections so it’s best to see your healthcare practitioner instead of diagnosing yourself with a yeast infection and taking over-the-counter medication to try and fix it. Especially if the medication you’re taking isn’t helping - this could be a sign of a different problem.
Not changing condoms
It’s important to make sure that you’re not using the same condoms for different sex acts Choma. So if you’re using one condom for vaginal sex, don’t use the same condom for anal sex or oral sex. Using the same condom for different sex can spread bacteria and lead to infections, sexually transmitted infections and bacterial infections.
Read more about condom mistakes you could be making here.
Wearing the wrong underwear
Tight underwear can cause more than just discomfort. If your underwear is tight, it can cause warmth and moistness which is exactly what bad bacteria needs to grow - leading to infections. Also be careful with lace underwear because it also doesn’t allow your skin to breathe, it traps warmth and moisture. Rather wear comfortably-fitting cotton underwear that allows your skin to breathe.
Not changing tampons and pads often enough
Change your pads and tampons often Choma, to make sure they don’t become a feeding ground for bacteria. A soaked pad near your vagina keeps things warm and moist. Also avoid wearing a pad when you’re not on your period because it will just keep the area around your vulva warm, making it the perfect environment for bad bacteria.
Not getting tested
Getting tested for STIs is a very important part of keeping your vagina healthy. It’s always best to know your STI status so that you can get the right treatment and prevent spreading STIs to your partner. Some STIs do not show symptoms so you might not know right away that you have it unless you get tested.
Read more about getting tested for STIs here.
Experimenting with ‘trends’
The latest ‘trends’ are not necessarily good for you Choma. Things like bleaching, the latest home remedies on the internet or products that people claim can make sex better can be extremely harmful. Don’t try anything until you’ve spoken to your healthcare practitioner. Your healthcare practitioner is someone who can give you better, healthier advice when it comes to your vagina.
Vaginal health is an extremely important part of your overall health Choma. Apart from staying comfortable, keeping your vagina clean and healthy can save you from many health complications. So to end off Choma, here are a few more tips on vaginal health and avoiding mistakes: Always wipe front to back, eat a healthy diet, always ask your healthcare practitioner as much as you need to know about your vagina and never ever be too embarrassed to talk about vaginal health.
Do you need more advice on your sexual reproductive health? Remember that you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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