Women’s Health —Top tips for a healthy lady garden..
The vagina, the lady garden or fairy as others may call it, is a tube of muscle inside a woman’s body that runs from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vaginal opening. The external sex organs, which are called the vulva, surround the vaginal opening.
Many people do not know that the vagina is a self cleansing muscle and doesn’t need severe cleaning such as douching and vaginal wipes, sprays and washes. Using such things actually disrupt the natural PH in a women’s lady garden.
Exercise and diet can also have an effect on the vagina as normal exercise helps maintain good vaginal function, as walking and running helps the pelvic floor to tone up and helps ensure good general health.
Your vagina should be your haven and you should want to look after it the best you can. Douching, sprays and some scented soaps all can affect your vagina. So here are some tips to keep your ‘fairy’ sparkling:
- Don’t douche! – it upsets the natural PH and can wash away good bacteria
- Using vaginal sprays, wipes and scented soaps can cause itching and irritation
- Use unscented soaps and a flannel to clean yourself and wash with water, daily
- The vagina will clean itself inside your body with natural vaginal secretions (discharge).
Other than a women’s period once a month, it is normal to produce a clear or white discharge which doesn’t have a strong odour or cause any soreness or itching on a daily basis, this secretion is produced naturally in the cervix and amount will vary during your menstrual cycle.
Also, the texture and colour may also change due to hormones, menopause or pregnancy and is usually nothing to worry about.
Any change in discharge or any soreness/itching that is abnormal to you should be checked by a GP or at a GUM clinic to rule out any sexually transmitted infections or bacterial infections, such as thrush or bacterial vaginitis.
Thrush is a common bacterial infection and many women experience it.
It causes itching, soreness and swelling around the vagina and often has a thick white discharge, like cottage cheese, to accompany it (lovely!)
Vaginal thrush is fairly harmless, but it can be uncomfortable. It can also keep returning – this is known as recurrent (or complicated) thrush.
If it is the first time experiencing these thrush symptoms it is best to get it checked by your GP as the symptoms may be of another infection or issue. Your GP will take a swab and prescribe you with appropriate medication. Thrush is usually treated with external creams, pessaries and oral medication which can be bought over the counter.
Causes of thrush?
Thrush is a yeast infection, usually caused by a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans.
Many women have Candida in their vagina without it causing any symptoms.
Vaginal secretions and “friendly” vaginal bacteria keep the fungus under control. Problems arise when the natural balance in the vagina is upset and Candida multiplies.
Vaginal thrush isn’t an STI, but it can sometimes be passed on to men during sex. if you have thrush, it’s best to avoid having sex until you’ve completed treatment and the infection has gone. Thrush can also be triggered by sex, and this is more likely if you have trouble relaxing and producing lubrication during love making.
It is best to wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing to allow the vagina to “breathe” , also keep the vagina clean using unperfumed soaps and discuss with sexual partners any lubricating issues.
Remember thrush may be embarrassing but it can be treated, after all no one wants a messy garden!