Keeping up with your health and wellness is a worthy endeavor, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily easily. Not only do you need to be constantly vigilant and in-tune with your person, but you need to take every part of your body into consideration. Yes, even that part. Seriously, if the signs you're not caring for your vagina enough sound familiar, then it's time to act. After all, self care practices should absolutely apply to the most personal place of all.
In general, vaginas are self-sufficient organs, but they still need some attention every now and then. If a problem occurs, like you notice a smell that seems "off" or you experience some itchiness, then of course it's wise to see a doctor right away. Most infections can be cured pretty quickly, so you don't have to deal with the annoying symptoms for too long. Getting that diagnosis, however, is key.
But even if everything seems fine down there, it's smart to take a few extra precautions periodically. Switching out pads frequently, and even taking a minute to pee after having sex, can really help ward off nasty infections. Even switching to a breathable type of underwear, or going commando on occasion, can keep things healthy and happy. With a little care and attention, your vagina will stay infection-free and cause you no trouble. Read on to learn the signs your vagina needs a little TLC.
1. It's Always Under Wraps
Is your vagina always stuck in layers of clothing, particularly synthetic fibers? Let it breathe from time to time. In fact, going commando can be helpful for women who deal with skin sensitivities and irritation, as noted in Buzzfeed. If you need something on down there, opt for a breathable fabric like cotton.
2. The Smell Is Off
If things get ripe down there, take note. A weird, fishy smell often results from bacterial vaginosis (BV), as explained by the Center for Young Women's Health. Fortunately, BV tends to respond well to treatment, so you don't have to put up with it for very long.
3. There's Persistent Itchiness
Does it take all your willpower to avoid scratching? Vaginal itchiness is often caused by yeast infections or other health problems, according to the Mayo Clinic. Visit your doctor to finally get some relief.
4. Ingrown Hairs Are The Norm
If you choose to wax and/or shave, chances are you've dealt with some irritating ingrown hairs. Exfoliating and moisturizing your skin can help prevent ingrown hairs, according to the website for Allure. If they're really persistent, then some other method of hair removal may be better for you.
5. It's Red & Tender
Roses are red, but your vagina should not be. Seriously, signs of discoloration and irritation down there can point to health concerns. Eczema, allergies, or psoriasis can cause vaginal redness and irritation, as explained by Harvard Health Publications. Getting it checked out is wise.
6. You're Having Unusual Discharge
You probably have a sense of what your body's normal discharge looks like. So if your discharge is yellow, smelly, or otherwise unusual, an infection may be to blame, according to Healthline. Consider seeing a doctor.
7. Sex Causes Pain
Sex does not have to hurt, but many things can cause discomfort during intercourse. In fact, pain during sex can be caused by insufficient lubrication, conditions such as vaginismus, or certain STIs, according to WebMD. Because there are so many possibilities, you may want to see a doctor for help.
8. You Don't Pee After Sex
Sometimes all you want to do after sex is fall asleep. But remember that 75 percent of urinary tract infections are caused by sexual activity, and peeing after sex is a good way to prevent UTIs, according to Bedsider. Flush out that bacteria and then crash for the night.
9. You Make Pads Work Overtime
Most people know tampons need to be changed frequently, but pads are also time-sensitive. It's a good idea to change a pad every three to four hours to prevent bacterial buildup, according to KidsHealth. If you have a heavier flow, then changing it more frequently may be needed. It's worth taking a little time and effort to keep your vagina clean and healthy.