Besides the usual reproductive or menstrual concerns, the vagina is an area of the body we don’t often think about unless something goes wrong. Then, when discomfort becomes intense, vaginal health is all that we can think about. Maintaining your vaginal health and feminine wellness is an important part of living an overall healthy lifestyle. Below are a few basics.
Deciphering Your Symptoms
|Common Symptoms||Bacterial Vaginitis||Yeast Infection||Trichmoniasis|
|Odor||Fishy or unpleasant||None||Musty or unpleasant|
|Discharge||Thin, milky white or gray||Thick, white, cottage cheese like||Frothy, yellow-green|
It’s important to know not only the basic anatomical names (vagina and vulva), but also how they look and function. This way, when something seems a little off, you’re able to speak with your doctor with language that accurately reflects your issue.
Normal vaginal bacteria produce factors that keep the vaginal environment slightly acidic. The acidic environment helps suppress the overgrowth of abnormal bacteria. When abnormal bacteria overgrow or parasitic infections like Trichomoniasis become established, it results in abnormal vaginal acidity. Yeast infections, on the other hand, usually do not result in a change in the vaginal acidity.
The Vaginal Health Test from MONISTAT® CARE™ can help determine if seeing a doctor is necessary by testing if vaginal pH is abnormal, which may indicate that you have a vaginal infection. On the other hand, a pH that is normal along with symptoms like vaginal itching, burning and thick, lumpy discharge could indicate a yeast infection.
Vaginal discharge is a normal part of the body’s cleansing system. While levels and consistency differ from woman to woman, most discharge contains secretions from glands in the vulva, cervix and vagina, bacteria and saline. It is usually clear or slightly cloudy and can range from white to yellowish. It shouldn’t irritate your vulva or vagina and is free of unpleasant odor.
When discharge has a foul odor or irritates the skin, there is cause for concern regarding your vaginal health. It’s important to see your healthcare professional as soon as possible for a diagnosis. However, if you do not detect foul odor, have experienced a yeast infection in the past, and are certain that your symptoms are the same, you can begin treatment with your choice of MONISTAT® yeast infection treatment products.
Care and Maintenance
Seeing a healthcare professional regularly is important to maintaining your vaginal health. There are also some daily habits that will help you maintain feminine wellness:
- Avoid douching
- Avoid using feminine deodorant sprays, scented pads or tampons, colored or perfumed toilet paper, bubble bath, or scented body wash
- Always wipe from front to back
- Wear cotton underwear during the day to let your skin breathe
- Avoid wearing tight pants, pantyhose, swimsuits, biking shorts or leotards for long periods
- Change out of wet bathing suits and sweaty clothing as soon as possible
- Use a mild laundry detergent
The body, including the vagina and urinary tract, contains complex, finely-balanced ecosystems where beneficial bacteria keep disease-causing organisms in check. When these systems are thrown out of balance, conditions like urinary tract infections, yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis can result.