Did you know your vagina is an organ that you must keep healthy to ensure that your entire body is healthy? Your vagina gives you warning signs to look for when there is an infection or other problems are present that you should address right away.
Discharge from the vagina is normal – and healthy. It carries the dead cells and unwanted toxins and bacteria and prevents dryness and infections. When your vagina is in ill-health of course it can be uncomfortable and disconcerting, but it can also affect your sexual life by slowing your libido and affecting your fertility.
Long-term vaginal problems may affect relationships, cause stress and lower your self-esteem. An unhealthy vagina also makes you more apt to develop vaginal yeast infections.
Some warning signs that your vagina is unhealthy include:
- Odorous Discharge – When you notice a foul odor from your vagina (fishy smell), it could indicate an infection is present. The foul-smelling discharge may take place after intercourse. A healthy discharge from the vagina is clear or white and helps to keep the vagina lubricated.
- Bleeding Between Periods – If you experience bleeding in between your regular menstrual cycle or if your period lasts longer than usual, you may have a problem within your vagina.
- Itching/Burning – Annoying itching and burning sensations in and around the vagina may indicate the presence of a vaginal infection. Itching and burning may also be caused by the chemicals and other ingredients contained in soap, contraceptive products, some douching products and creams.
- Vaginal Atrophy – This warning sign happens when your body isn’t producing enough estrogen, causing the vagina to become thin and inflamed. Painful intercourse may indicate vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy often happens after menopause and may contribute to urinary tract infections.
- Blisters or Bumps on the Outer Vagina – This may be a sign of vulvar or vaginal cancer. Sometimes, the bumps may change color and become hard or turn into a lesion. They may also indicate the presence of an STD such as herpes.
- Painful Urination – If you experience painful urination, you may have a yeast or bacterial infection. It may also be a sign of various types of STDs such as genital herpes and chlamydia.
As with most ill-health or disease, the best prevention or cure will be in creating and maintaining an environment which supports health. Preventing an overgrowth of the organisms that contribute to vaginal ill-health is most efficiently addressed by a combination of god diet and personal cleanliness.
All women should strive to keep the vagina healthy by practicing good hygiene – just as they would for other parts of the body. Since the vagina is located near the anus and is also exposed to urination, it’s critical to keep bacteria buildup from happening.
Women can keep the vagina healthy and clean by washing the vagina thoroughly, including the folds of the labia where bacteria builds-up quickly. Keeping the vagina very clean, eating healthy and cutting down stress in your life can help to balance the vagina and keep infections at bay. If you continually experience vaginal infections and other problems, especially after addressing the above, you may need to ask for medical advice.