The vagina connects the vulva to the cervix and ultimately to the uterus. It is the canal that allows for monthly menstruation and child birth. Every woman should be concerned about their vaginal health, the vagina generally has an acidic PH that contains rich quantities of beneficial bacteria that helps get rid of infections. The vagina can naturally self cleanse itself without any care but it is important to take care of it, a healthy vagina secretes small amount of discharge.
What is the Smell of a healthy vagina
All healthy vagina has a smell. Each vagina’s odor is unique and varies depending on what phase of menstrual circle you are in. It can also be affected by your personal hygiene and practices; vaginal odor can smell differently when there is an underlying infection called vaginitis. In most cases vaginal odor will smell bad during an infection, the smell can sometimes be described as “fishy” or “rotten”. Knowing how your vagina typically smells will help you recognize when things are not right.
What Should a healthy vagina discharge look like?
Some vaginal discharge is normal while some are not normal. A healthy vaginal discharge is usually clear or white and odorless depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle, vaginal discharge can be thin or thick. For example, aside from your menstrual bleed, the vaginal discharge is usually thick and white, mucousy and stretchy. After your period, vaginal discharge turns brown as your vagina cleanse the leftover blood of your menstruation for that month. You might notice other differences in your discharge related to birth control method and your sexual activities. A change in the normal pattern of the color and smell of your discharge may indicate that there is in infection or inflammation in the vagina.
Signs and symptoms of an unhealthy vagina
The vagina can become unhealthy when delicate balance of healthy microbes become unbalanced from the following:
- Exposure to an irritant or alleges
- Increased stress
- Unsafe sex
- Improper hygiene.
The above happens with several symptoms that may suggest that the vagina is unhealthy and suffering from an underlying infection and this symptom includes:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Smelly odor
Ways to keep your vagina Clean and health
- Stop the douche: the natural pH of the vagina is 3.5- 4.5. Women should avoid douching as these reduce the acidity of the vagina. The acidity of the vagina is very important as these helps to prevent the growth of bacteria. Women should avoid using hard soaps and body washes on the inside of the vagina and vulva. Vagina douching is a method of washing out the vagina with a mixture of water and vinegar. Douches that are sold in the drug stores and supermarket usually contains antiseptics and fragrances. A douche usually comes in a bottle or bag and is sprayed through a tube upwards into the vagina.
- Wash your hands before any sexual activities: Washing your hand always is very essential but during sex it is also important for you and your partner to wash your hands, washing your hand with soap help you get rid of some bacteria that are in the fingers, before using them in your private parts.
- Wear cotton Underwear: Some women find out that they are sensitive to synthetic fiber which can cause irritation in the vagina. Cotton is generally recommended for underwear because it is a natural product that doesn’t hold moisture. Underwear with latex or rubber should be avoided as moisture isn’t able to escape easily. It is important to put on a breathable cotton underwear especially if you are suffering from any kind of vaginal problem like yeast infection etc.
- Practice good hygiene during menstruation: It is important to keep a good vagina hygiene especially during menstruation, make sure to change sanitary pads and tampon frequently (at least 6-8 hrs. is recommended), even if you feel like you don’t need to, try and change to avoid infection. Although changing tampon or sanitary pads may seem more expensive to manage but this can help your from easily getting an infection. Leaving tampon or sanitary pad for too long can lead to fever, skin changes, low blood pressure vomiting or muscle ache.
- Use only water to wash the vagina: Avoid using harsh chemicals to wash your vagina, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ that does not need any harsh chemical to make it clean. Using harsh chemicals, prepackaged wipes or douching can disrupt its normal process. If you must wash the vagina, make sure to use a gentle soap for only the external genitals. Avoid chemicals that can cause irritation to your vagina like some soaps, shampoo laundry detergents and some lubricants can also cause vagina irritation.
- Use natural lubricant: Avoid using petroleum jelly, only use coconut oil or olive oil as these are preferred lubricant and vaginal moisturizers. If you have a sensitive skin or multiple allergies you can use silicone or water base lubricants as an alternative. Water base or silicone lubricant of you’re using a latex condom.
- Wipe your vagina from front to back: It important not to bring not to bring what is lurking in the back to the front, as these can cause E. coli and other bacterial infection from the gastrointestinal tract (GI) to the vagina. This might seem not important but it is very important to wipe the vagina from front to back to keep it healthy and free from bacteria.
- Practice safe sex: one way to keep the vagina healthy is to practice safe sex. Here are some simple vagina hygiene tips for safe sex:
- Use protection: this can be a condom, dental dam or cloves. It’s not something strange to you, you already know you are to use protection before sex to avoid any infection or diseases, using protection before sex helps you prevent many other sexual problems.
- Mind your sex act order: Going from butt play to vagina play can increase your chances of getting an infection like painful urinary tract infections (UTis). If anal sex is your thing make sure to do it after vagina sex not before. Also, make sure you change the condom you used before changing a style of sex you want to do.
- Check condom ingredient before use: There is a lot of condom brands that are made from spermicides. Spermicides aren’t very healthy for the vagina, as they can kill good bacteria in the vagina. Use condoms other forms of birth control of available to make a happy and healthy vagina
- Get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases: It is very important to get tested regularly after an exchange of sexual partners this is because of the exchange of genital fluids between you and that partner. This can help you know how healthy your body and vagina feel.
9. Make sure to urinate after sex: Urinating after sex can help reduce the infection like urinary tract infections (UTIs), plus it helps you get into some discrete clean-up time.
10. Make sure to treat infection as soon as possible: There are three main vagina infections that are common and they are yeast infection, bacteria vaginosis and trichomoniasis. If you are prone to yeast infections and you recognize the symptoms, it is important you treat it immediately. While yeast is a fugal infection, bacteria vaginosis is caused by bacteria over growth in the vagina. Trichomoniasis is an infection that is caused by a parasite and it is usually sexually transmitted. Treating these infections early is very important because not having them treated can lead to an unpleasant, painful and serious reproductive health issues.
The vagina is one of the most delicate parts of the body of every woman. It is important to take care of it with care as every woman is prone to an infection because of how delicate the vagina is. The above tips will help you understand how to keep the vagina clean and healthy to avoid infections and other diseases.