Many women experience uncomfortable, vaginal infections (vaginitis) at one time or another. The area around the entrance to the vagina (vulva) can also become irritated. Not all vaginal infections are alike and home treatments can worsen some types. If you have any concerns about your vulvar or vaginal health, or notice unusual changes in vaginal discharge, contact your health care provider if the problem persists.
Steps That Can Be Taken To Relieve And Prevent Vulvar Discomfort And Vaginal Infections.
Here are general tips for maintaining a healthy vulva and vagina.
THE VULVA AND THE VAGINA
The vulva is the area of female sex organs that lies outside of the vagina. These organs include folds of sensitive tissue called the labia.
There are two sets of labia. The outermost folds are called the labia majora. A second set of folds, called the labia minora, is enclosed within the labia majora. The vulva also contains the mounded area made by the pubic bone (mons pubis), a small, round organ (clitoris), and the openings of the vagina and urinary canal (urethra).
The vagina is the passageway that extends from outside of the body to the uterus (womb).
VAGINAL INFECTIONS AND VULVA CARE
Vaginal infections occur when bacteria, funguses or other organisms grow uncontrolled. Some of these organisms already live in the vagina and are kept at healthy levels by coexisting with other organisms.
Infectious organisms can also be introduced into the vagina by improper hygiene or unsafe sex. The goal of vulvar care is to keep the vulva dry and free from irritants. In this way, you can prevent the vulva from becoming red, swollen and irritated.
Because many infections are introduced into the vagina, these tips also provide a basis for good, vaginal care.
- Use only warm water to wash the vulva.
- Dry thoroughly with a clean towel. If the vulva is very irritated, you can try drying.
- The vagina cleanses itself naturally in the form of normal, vaginal discharge. Avoid using douches unless prescribed by your physician. These products can upset the natural balance of organisms. Avoid these feminine hygiene products, which can irritate the vulva: sanitary pads, feminine spray and deodorants, Vaseline, oils, greases, bubble baths.
- Wear only white, hundred percent cotton underwear.
- Avoid wearing nylon, acetate, or other manmade fibers. They trap heat and moisture, providing an ideal breeding environment for organisms. When nylons or leggings are required, wear cotton or nylons with a cotton panty.
- Rinse underclothes carefully after washing. Or, double-rinse.
- Wash new underclothes before wearing.
- Use soft toilet tissue (white only).
- Use tampons instead of sanitary napkins to control menstrual bleeding. (Do not use deodorant tampons.)
- Do not leave tampons in for a long period, due to risk of toxic shock syndrome.
- Don’t scratch.
- Reduce intake of sugar. Sugar promotes the growth of some infective organism
- Avoid the use of vaginal douches and special cleaners. They kill the normal flora that keep the vagina in good state. It is recommended to use unscented soap in cleaning the vulva. However the vagina is self-cleansing and requires no special cleaning. Use a mild soap for washing underclothes.