Taking care of your vagina is just as important as ensuring your overall health is up to par. When your vagina is not healthy, it can negatively impact your overall health. Factors such as your hygiene routines, safe sex practices, mental health, birth control use, lubricants, and condoms affect vaginal health. Vaginal issues can lead to sexual dysfunction. This dysfunction lowers arousal, self confidences, and orgasms. With the help of Dr. Barb, board-certified OB/GYN, we will examine three lifestyle choices that affect your pH balance and some ways to keep your vagina healthy.

Feminine Hygiene Routine

  • First and foremost, your feminine hygiene routine is key to having a healthy vagina. Knowing what products to use and visiting your gynecologist should be incorporated into your feminine care. Contraceptives products such as condoms can cause irritation and allergic reactions for some women. Dr. Barb highly objects to douching or putting any products in your vagina that are not pH balanced.
  • Avoid using any scented products such as soaps, deodorant sprays, or tampons. These products are prone to causing vaginal irritation and urinary tract infections. Another way to ensure you maintain a healthy vagina, Dr. Barb says, is by wiping correctly. Wiping front to back after bowel movements will help lower bladder infections and cross-bacterial contamination from the anus to the vagina.
  • Avoid using tampons and sanitary pads for longer than the recommended time. Use low absorbency tampons to lower the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome - a rare, life-threatening complication of certain bacterial infections. Do not wear one panty liner for a whole day. It is essential to change liners frequently to avoid vulvar irritation. Dr. Barb stresses the importance of forming a vaginal routine and regularly visiting your gynecologist. As you ensure your external health down there, your gyno will ensure that internally you are healthy by checking for abnormal cell growths and other infections.
Mental Health

Mental health can negatively impact our sexual health. For many women with anxiety and depression, there is decreased libido and increased irritation and pain during sex. Traumatic sexual experiences also affect our mental health. A traumatic experience may lessen arousal and create uncomfortable sexual encounters. Painful sexual experiences and other emotional factors can cause women to experience vaginismus - a condition where one endures muscle spasms (involuntary contractions) in the pelvic floor muscles. This condition makes insertion of a penis, finger, tampons, or speculum impossible. To alleviate the symptoms of vaginismus, medications, physical therapy, and behavioral therapy are often the remedy.

Practice Safe Sex

  • Sex is a huge responsibility. It should go without saying that consent is essential! As well as ensuring that you and your partner(s) are safe. Deciding to have unprotected sex is a health risk, says Dr. Barb, but knowing how to take the correct precautions is a good start. Having unprotected sex can lead to sexually transmitted infections. When these infections are left untreated, they cause complications for fertility. Dr. Barb recommends using non-latex condoms for protection against chlamydia, HIV, HPV, genital herpes, genital warts, and gonorrhea. Other tips for safe sex include using different condoms for anal and vaginal sex- to prevent infections by transferring anal bacteria to the vagina canal. Another tip is not sharing toys with your sexual partner(s).
  • Besides getting consent, avoiding unprotected sex, avoiding anal then vaginal sex, limiting your sexual partners are good ways to practice safe sexual routines. Getting regular pap smears and health check-ups, using pH-balanced products, and taking care of your mental health are good ways to protect your vaginal health. If you are worried about your health, always visit your physician!
June 02, 2021

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.