How to maintain safe vaginal health is crucial because a healthy vagina helps prevent harmful bacteria from entering your urinary tract. This article reviews how women try to maintain safe vaginal health. And evaluates the role of probiotics, vitamins, foods, vaginal self-test, and pelvic floor exercise in vaginal health.
Some women use probiotics to maintain vaginal health. However, doctors warned that probiotics may introduce new bacteria into your body. According to the doctors, the view that taking probiotics may help restore a healthier balance of bacteria in the vagina works only in the lab. And till date, there is little evidence to suggest probiotic supplements improve vaginal health. So for now, antibiotic and antifungal mediations are the only treatments known to be effective for vaginal bacterial and yeast infections.
Vaginal dryness is a common problem that affects women at any age. But it is prevalent during menopause due to decreased estrogen levels.
In view of this problem, women take supplements to help prevent vaginal dryness and improve lubrication. For instance, supplements like vitamin E, vitamin D, sea buckthorn oil, fish oil, and DHEA may help increase vaginal lubrication.
Nonetheless discuss with your doctor before taking any supplements particularly if you have any underlying conditions. Or taking other medications.
How to maintain safe vaginal health looks at the role of foods. The easiest way to promote vaginal health is through a healthy diet. For example, the following foods work in favour of your vagina:
Cranberries help fight urinary tract infections (UTIs). Studies show that cranberries prevent UTIs in women with recurrent or recent UTI issues. Take a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice daily for a healthy vagina.
Sweet potatoes are great for women trying to get pregnant. So eat more of them.
Yogurt helps balance your pH level and prevents yeast infections. While the calcium in yogurt helps ease your premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Omega 3 fatty acids ease menstrual cramping and help ease vaginal dryness in postmenopausal women.
Apple promotes better sexual function, arousal, lubrication, and orgasm. Besides, eating two or more servings of citrus fruits per day is likely to prevent uterine fibroids.
Soy is great for vaginal health particularly if you have reduced estrogen levels and resultant vaginal dryness.
Avocado healthy fats have a positive impact on your sex drive. Avocados can enhance lubrication, strengthen vaginal walls, and are likely to increase in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) success.
Dark leafy greens help decrease vaginal dryness. They purify your blood, improve circulation which helps prevent vaginal dryness and increase stimulation.
Although your vagina doesn’t need to be washed because it cleans itself, the vulva does. Hence, washing your vulva should be a daily hygiene routine. All you need is warm water to properly clean your vulva. But there are products you can use if you want to cleanse, moisturise or freshen between showers, like cleansing wipes or cloths.
One tip for picking any of these products is fragrance-free. This is because perfumed products can cause dryness and alter the pH balance of your vagina. The result is infection and itching. In any case, the natural smell of your vagina shouldn’t be covered up with perfumes. And preferably your soaps, cleansing wipes, cleansing cloths, and moisturising wash should be dermatologist-tested, and hypoallergenic.
Vagina Health Tests
How to maintain safe vaginal health includes two vagina health tests you may want to do at home. First is the vaginal self-examination (VSE). The second is the vaginal pH test.
Vaginal self-examination (VSE)
A vaginal self-examination(VSE) enables you to look at your vulva and inside your vagina. The examination may help you understand your body better, and the changes that take place during the menstrual cycle. Equally, any problems that may need medical attention.
The best time to do a VSE is between your menstrual periods. But note that a VSE should not replace a regular pelvic examination by your doctor.
Vaginal pH test
A vaginal pH test measures the acidic or alkaline level of your vagina secretions. The test involves a paper test strip that, when swabbed over the vagina, changes color. The test strip is then compared to a colour reference chart that measures vaginal pH on a scale of 1 to 14. Normal vaginal pH is between 3.8 and 4.5. Anything below 3.8 or above 4.5 is abnormal.
If you are experiencing unusual vaginal symptoms: itching, burning, a foul vaginal odour, or discharge, you may want to test your vaginal pH.
Then again, a normal vagina pH does not mean infection-free. This is especially true if you have a yeast infection. Hence, if you have symptoms of a vaginal infection of any sort, see your doctor no matter what the test says. Also, be aware that an at-home test will not help diagnose sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Pelvic Floor Exercise (Kegel exercise)
Kegel exercises are done to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. You use your pelvic floor muscles to stop the flow of urine mid-stream when you are sitting on the toilet. So, strengthening these muscles helps you prevent urine leakage, unintentional gas passing, or poop leak. The bonus is an improvement in your orgasm.
How to perform Kegel exercises
You do Kegel exercises by lifting and holding and then relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. Start by lifting and holding for three seconds then relaxing for three seconds. Repeat this 10 times in a row. This is a set. Do this at least twice a day. As you improve, increase all of these numbers. And finally, increase the exercises from twice a day to three times a day.
Men also benefit from Kegel exercises
For men, these exercises can:
- Help improve incontinence, depending on the cause.
- Provide relief from prostate pain and swelling.
- Increase men’s sexual pleasure through greater control of ejaculation and improved orgasm sensation.
All in all, how to maintain safe vaginal health can be done effectively with a healthy lifestyle. This means a preventive care lifestyle that will keep off infections and eliminate the need for antifungal medication or antibiotics. Likewise, by keeping your sugar consumption low, and eating foods low in acidity and high in alkaline, you maintain a proper pH balance in your gut and vagina.
Finally, proper vaginal care, such as good hygiene, safe sex, and frequent gynecological visits, plays a role in how to maintain safe vaginal health.
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