Your vagina is your body’s natural Flower Power defense against infections and other issues that can impact your pelvic and vulvar health. But if you’re experiencing any unusual discharge, odor, itching or pain during sex or urination, talk with your doctor about what might be wrong.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) are another concern for women, as STIs can lead to chronic infections or cancer in the vagina. Taking steps to prevent or get treated for these conditions can make all the difference in your vaginal health and your overall reproductive health.
The Importance of Self-Care for Women’s Health
Common STIs that cause symptoms include HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Other STIs, like human papillomavirus (HPV), can have no symptoms and can be difficult to diagnose.
Eating a healthy diet and staying active can also help you maintain your vaginal health. A diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains can help fight infection-causing bacteria that can affect your vulvar.
Probiotics can help you keep a healthy microbiome in your vagina and protect against bacterial vaginosis, yeast vaginitis, UTIs and sexually transmitted diseases. You can get probiotics from food or by taking a daily probiotic supplement.
Other things to avoid during your period are feminine sprays/deodorants, fragranced tampons and anything that says it’s “pH balancing.” All of these products can change the natural balance of microorganisms in your vagina and could lead to more serious infections. It’s also important to use unscented tampons during menstrual bleeding.