William Vinyard, MD, FACS

Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

9 Steps to Improved Vaginal Health

In order to prevent itches, rashes, and infections, it’s critical to prioritize vaginal health. A healthy vagina is a self-maintaining ecosystem - which starts at the opening of the uterus and has the ability to cleanse itself - thanks to good bacteria and proper pH balance. While harmful hygiene practices typically cause most vaginal infections, even prescription antibiotics can distress the previously balanced equilibrium of vaginal bacteria.

Follow these 9 tips to excellent vaginal health by restoring the natural balance of your vaginal system.

1. Sexual 101: It’s Not Just About You.

With so much emphasis on freeing sexual expression in today’s society, it’s important to always practice safe sex. Don’t forget that infections are commonly passed in-between sexual partners, so there's nothing wrong with the prioritization of safeguarding your sex-related health when you're with a new (or numerous) partners.

Don’t underestimate proper condom use and verifying that your partner follows proper hygiene.

A helpful safe sex practice is peeing after intercourse. This simple practice helps eliminate germs in the urethra and bladder. You can also wash around the vaginal canal after sex to prevent undesirable germs. But bear in mind, these actions won't protect against sexually transmitted infections. Proper condom use and verifying that your partner follows proper hygiene are always critical. The use of a prophylactic or diaphragm can also be helpful.

2. Ditch the Feminine Hygiene Products.

From antiperspirants and wipes to sprays and soaps, the market pesters us with a selection of products created specifically for female hygiene. Products that claim to clean or treat the genital area comprise a $3 billion market in the USA.

Allow your vagina to naturally care for itself.

Yet do we truly need them? Many feminine hygiene products often use ingredients believed to be health hazards, allergens, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Products containing such harmful ingredients can do far more harm than help. Remember that it all boils down to this: allow your vaginal system to naturally care for itself.

Fancy soaps can cause irritabilities.

Stick to ordinary water and unscented soap to clean your genital area. Fancy soaps can cause irritabilities, so opt for pH-neutral soap to help keep the bad bacteria under control.

3. Remember To Take Your Probiotics.

While a nutritious, balanced diet is important for reproductive health, probiotics have an exceptionally special function. The vaginal canal has a natural degree of important bacteria that keep it healthy and balanced, including the Lactobacillus germs. Insufficient quantities of this microorganisms can result in increased sensitivity to infections ranging from yeast infections to HIV.

There are plenty of delicious ways to ensure your body is receiving the proper probiotics.

Yogurt and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, or miso are all delicious ways to ensure your body is receiving the proper probiotics (and therefore bacteria) that it needs to self-maintain.

4. Watch How You Wipe.

We know it sounds trivial, but there’s a good reason why you should always wipe from front to back. In females, the openings of the anus and vaginal canal are rather close together. Wiping from back to front raises the risk of bringing bacteria from the anus into the vagina. This can cause bacterial vaginosis: a genital infection characterized by a fishy scent, discharge, itching, and a burning sensation when you pee. So don’t skip the basics… wipe front to back.

The vaginal canal has a natural degree of important bacteria that keep it healthy and balanced.

5. Be Careful With Menstrual Products.

With the rise of especially high-absorbency pads, tampons, and menstrual cups, it's increasingly easy to neglect changing them on a regular basis. But by failing to do so, microbial overgrowth, breakouts, and even pain may result. Professionals recommend changing menstrual products every 6 to 8 hrs. Leaving tampons in for longer than 8 hrs has even been known to increase the chance of a potentially fatal issue called poisonous shock disorder.

The dioxins, pesticidal deposits, and scent chemicals in tampons might pose a threat to wellness.

Additionally, the dioxins, pesticidal deposits, and scent chemicals in tampons might pose a threat to reproductive and endocrine wellness, beyond occasionally causing allergic reactions or infections.

6. Don’t Get Tempted Into Douching.

Many women seem to believe that douching (the act of cleansing the vaginal canal by spraying it with water or other liquids) will remove bad odor, menstrual residue, and refresh the vaginal canal. Roughly 1 in 4 American women, aged 15 to 44 years old, douche. This can not only adversely influence the all-natural equilibrium inside the vaginal canal, but cause issues from dry skin to inflammation. A healthy vagina needs both good and bad bacteria. The vaginal area normally cleans itself by releasing discharge and mucus. While it may be tempting to speed it up, you’ll only do more harm than good.

Douching can adversely influence the all-natural equilibrium inside the vaginal canal.

Not to mention that if you already have a vaginal infection, douching can motivate the microorganisms to move into the uterus, ovaries, and Fallopian tube, triggering a vaginal infection to turn into a pelvic inflammatory condition, an even more serious inflammation of the reproductive organs.

7. Exercises: Both Yoga and Kegel

The vaginal canal is composed of muscular tissues. Pelvic floor exercises such as contracting and relaxing muscles with kegel exercise can be particularly useful in keeping the vaginal canal firm, particularly post-pregnancy.

Yoga can also aid vaginal muscular tissues. The ashwini mudra (horse pose) can enhance blood circulation to the pelvic region, tone the vaginal muscle mass, and keep the vaginal cells healthy and balanced. Different asanas such as frog pose (mandukasana), fish pose (matsyasana), and wind-relieving pose (pawanmuktasana) can also be extremely valuable for urological troubles.

8. Stress and Anxiety Are Worse Than You Think.

Believe it or not, stress is one of the factors that impacts your vaginal wellness. The incidences of infection are statistically higher in women who are stressed, since their immune systems are already lowered - an important prerequisite for fungal infections.

9. It’s Time to Talk About Vaginal Rejuvenation

If you’re ready to address vaginal or genital issues more head-on, consider vaginal rejuvenation. Utilizing lasers, it’s possible to experience a nearly painless procedure which will increase collagen growth, heal scars, thicken vaginal mucus, and improve the comfort level of sexual intercourse. For a more serious option, vaginal rejuvenation surgery actually tightens the vaginal canal to restore the post-childbirth body to its former glory.

If you would like to learn more about your vaginal rejuvenation options, book a free consultation with Dr. Vinyard today! He would be happy to discuss your concerns and discuss whether a laser or surgical treatment would better achieve your vaginal needs.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.