The words feminine care are often whispered in corridors and hallways like it’s something taboo. The vagina has always been stigmatized as “dirty” and it has been the focus of many jokes for decades. Though we learn about the female body from many sources, some aren’t always reliable and some finer details may have been missed in our high school health class.
We need to have a shift in perspective and focus on education. When it comes to women’s health and feminine hygiene, proper learning plays a crucial role.
Infections can take on several forms and can affect millions of women of all ages all over the world. Here we discuss some of the more common ones:
- Vaginal Yeast Infection
A very common infection which 3 out of 4 women will experience in their lifetime, vaginal yeast infection occurs when the delicate balance of the vaginal microbiome is disrupted. Having imbalanced microorganisms can lead to a yeast infection, with symptoms such as itching, burning, pain, or a lumpy vaginal discharge.
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
BV is another common infection that can affect women of childbearing age. Risk factors for BV include douching, having multiple sexual partners, and not using protection during sex. Symptoms of BV may include milky or gray vaginal discharge, itching or irritation, and a fishy odour that becomes more pronounced after sex or urinating.
- Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection is an infection taking place in any part of the urinary tract. That’s the ureters, kidney, bladder, and urethra. It can be very painful and uncomfortable but there are many simple fixes to a UTI. Cranberry pills for vaginal health are a great preventative measure to boost your immune system and prevent you from getting UTIs.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a parasite. This is spread when an individual has sex with someone who is already carrying it, known as the Trichomonas vaginalis. It is common and symptoms include pain during sex, a foul vaginal odour, and yellow-green vaginal discharge. If you suspect you have a vaginal infection, it’s best to talk to your healthcare professional regarding treatment.
The pH balance determines how acidic or basic a substance is, while your vagina’s pH level determines whether it’s healthy or otherwise. Having a high vaginal pH (above 4.5) can put you at risk for infections such as BV and trichomoniasis, but taking probiotics can help maintain your vagina’s healthy pH level.
How often should you wash your bra? That question has stumped many women on their way to do laundry. A Reader’s Digest article suggests that bras should be washed every 3 to 4 wears. Sources may vary as to the washing frequency, but they all seem to agree that over-washing and over-use can damage your bras, effectively shortening their lifespan.
When it comes to panties, cotton is king. It’s soft, absorbent, and breathable, making it good for your skin and your vagina. Other fabrics, such as synthetics, aren’t as breathable as cotton and may heighten irritation, especially for women who have sensitive skin or those who are prone to yeast infections.
Having Better Vaginal Health
Eating the right foods, such as probiotic-rich yogurt, can help promote vaginal health. If you’re prone to urinary tract infections, adding to your daily diet can help reduce the risk of such infections.
You can take proactive steps today to start your journey toward better feminine care. Being educated about feminine care issues is the first step.