Let’s talk about genital health
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By: Alex Killian/ SHEC
People tend to shy away from talking about genital health. It might be personal, but it’s important information. The vagina is a sensitive ecosystem, full of good bacteria (microbiota) that keep everything (including the bad bacteria) in balance. However, it really is a fine balance, and as soon as one thing gets out of hand, you often have yourself an uncomfortable situation.
Soap and other cleaning products are not necessary, as your vagina is self-cleaning. These products can actually cause more harm than good by killing off the good bacteria. This promotes the development of a yeast infection, or more seriously, bacterial vaginosis. You can purchase a pH neutral intimate area wash for the vulva, which can be helpful in maintaining pH balance and preventing yeast infection but avoid soap, douches or other cleaning contraptions at all costs.
Yeast likes warmth, moisture, changes in pH and sugar. Avoiding the following conditions that would make you susceptible to yeast growth is the best way to prevent infections:
- For one, wear loose cotton panties while working out and try to shower as soon as possible after exercise
- During bikini weather, try to avoid sitting in a wet bathing suit all day — bring a change of bottoms for after your swim, or swim towards the end of the day and jump into the shower right after
- While on your period, change sanitary products frequently and once again wear loose cotton panties
- When it comes to intimacy, flavoured condoms should not be used for penetration because of their sugars
- Adding probiotic yogurt into your diet, especially when taking antibiotics, may also be an effective yeast infection prevention method
- It’s important to note that vaginal infections can present more serious conditions and as such, please do not hesitate to see a doctor
URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are commonly characterized as pain or burning during urination, as well as frequent urinary urgency. For prevention, it is helpful to take vitamin C supplements if you are actively having penetrative sex. The acidity it adds to your urine will cleanse the urinary tract and hinder bacterial growth. Some evidence also indicates that cranberry supplements and juices help prevent and remedy UTIs. Drinking lots of water is also crucial in maintaining a healthy urinary tract. If left unattended, UTIs can travel up the urinary tract to the kidneys and lead to more serious health consequences. The suggestions here may help prevent a urinary tract infection, but will likely not help resolve it once it has developed enough to present symptoms. Usually a course of antibiotics is also required, so be sure to book an appointment with your physician at the slightest suspicion.
Soap and other cleaning products are not necessary, as your vagina is self-cleaning. These products can actually cause more harm than good.
For those that want to get rid of hair down there via shaving, there are several quick tips that can make it a painless experience. Firstly, investing in a good razor and keeping it clean is key. Use a razor that has three or more blades, and after three to four uses, change it up to ensure a clean shave. Shaving with the grain and using antiseptic ointment and moisturizer afterwards helps prevent razor burns and ingrown hairs. Finally, frequent shaving makes it all easier to maintain.