Feminine Intimate Healthcare: What you need to know about your Vagina.
“What’s the big mystery? It’s my vagina, not the sphinx! “
-Sex and the City.
It’s not easy being a woman. Women are primary care givers and nurturers in any family. Those who work outside have the additional challenge of juggling domestic responsibilities with professional aspirations. However, even as women effortlessly go about their varied roles, many end up neglecting their own health. And the one aspect of health that is perhaps the most neglected is “Intimate Care” with over 75% of all women being completely unaware of the need for a separate intimate care regime. Most women seek curative measures and visit a doctor only when they experience discomfort and irritation in their intimate areas.
Poor intimate health can get in the way of having a pleasurable sexual experience for those who are sexually active. Also, this can affect the overall sense of well being because of the discomfort that comes with it all. Luckily, understanding a bit about intimate wellness can help with any issues you may have which in turn will boost your confidence as a woman.
Intimate health can refer to a number of different aspects of a woman’s reproductive and sexual health. This term may be used in references to a variety of different conditions that affect the female genitalia or her reproductive organs (such as STI’s, yeast infections, vaginitis, etc). These are issues that make it difficult for a woman to enjoy sexual intercourse. For women, sexual changes are often a part of aging and menopause.
“Feminity is your greatest power. Embrace it!”
The following are common problems women may have with intimate wellness:
- Vaginal dryness : this occurs due to decreasing estrogen (the major female hormone which promotes the development and maintenance of the female characteristics). This may be associated with menopause and some medications may also cause this.
- Vaginal laxity: this is a looseness that occurs in the vagina. It can happen after vaginal childbirth but it may also be associated with menopause or aging. Laxity can cause a loss of sensation during sexual intercourse.
- Low sex drive: this may be caused by physical factors such as hormone imbalance or vaginal discomfort. Other issues related to menopause like fatigue, insomnia and mood swings can also contribute to a low libido.
- Vaginal infections: these are the most common intimate health conditions. They include; chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis, thrush, pelvic inflammatory disease, trichomoniasis, cystitis etc.
Three in four women will experience thrush at least once in their lifetime, one in three women will suffer bacterial vaginosis and one in two women will get symptoms of vaginal dryness after menopause, according to Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the producers of Canesten.
The term “Toilet infections” is a non-medical term used to describe a majority of symptoms associated with intimate health. Most of these symptoms include; burning sensations, itching and foul smelling vaginal discharge. These symptoms are commonly termed toilet infections because majority of people believe they originate from the use of dirty toilets. However, these symptoms are not limited to the use of dirty toilets. These infections occur as a result of a distortion in the microbial Flora of the vagina. The normal or “friendly” vaginal bacteria is dominated by various lactobacillus species. Lactobacilli helps to keep the vagina healthy by producing lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and other substances that inhibit the growth of yeast and other unwanted organisms. They maintain the vagina at a health pH of around 3.8 – 4. This acidic environment helps protect against infection and so do the other substances they produce. These bacteria are an important part of a healthy vaginal ecosystem.
Women should give importance to intimate hygiene no matter what stage they are in life. No woman wants to go through the day with unrelenting itching or feeling like their vagina is on fire.
Got burning questions about your intimate health and hygiene? Well, we’ll help you douse the flames with our resourceful guides that help you answer them all.
“Through Knowledge we gain power over our lives. With options we have possibility, with acceptance we find a new freedom”
- Lucy .H. Pearce.