We all know the importance of a good diet and plenty of exercise when it comes to looking after ourselves. A healthy, active lifestyle ensures you will be able to remain fit and in good health for as long as possible. But of course, some parts of our bodies occasionally require more specialist care. For example, when it comes to the health of your vagina, what are you doing to keep it in check?
A healthy vagina requires beneficial bacteria and a normal pH level to fight off infections. Maintaining the health of your lady parts doesn't have to be difficult with a little know-how, so take a look at our top tips below.
It's important to keep your vagina clean to prevent the risk of bacterial infection, but avoid the use of any harsh soaps or cleansers that may affect the pH balance. The vagina is designed to keep itself clean using natural secretions, so it's best not to interfere with this. Instead, wash the area carefully as part of your daily routine using plain, unperfumed soap.
The vagina stays healthy when it's clean and dry. Wearing comfortable cotton underwear that's not too tight should help prevent any bacteria overgrowth and reduce the risk of infections. After a workout at the gym, change out of your sweaty clothes as soon as possible.
Condoms are the best way to protect against sexually transmitted infections such as genital herpes, warts, gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Make sure you change the condom if you are switching between oral, vaginal or anal sex.
Gynecological exams are important for maintaining the health of your vagina and cervical smears are a vital means of doing this. A smear can show if there are abnormal cells present that may be indicative of cancer. Every woman aged over 25 should have regular checks to monitor their reproductive health.
Fluctuating hormone levels can have an impact on your vagina. For example, during the menopause oestrogen production declines, resulting in side effects such as vaginal dryness. The tissues lining the vagina and vulva also become thinner and less elastic, which can result in pain or difficulties during sex.
The vagina usually produces natural lubricant when you are sexually aroused, but making use of artificial lubricant can help reduce irritation or friction if needed. Some lubricants are designed to enhance pleasure as well. Make sure you stick to water-based products however, as oil or petroleum jelly can damage condoms, rendering them ineffective.