8 Common Vaginal Health Issues and Ways to Deal with Them
- By Serre Stick | July 08, 2018
Vaginal health issues are more common than you think. Infections can occur in the vagina and/or the vulva. There’s really no reason to feel self-conscious or embarrassed about this issue. A healthy vagina is the result of good hygiene and maintenance of the normal pH balance in the area.
Women of all ages can be affected by vaginal infections or vaginal diseases. These can include yeast and/or bacterial infections.
Normally, the vagina houses good and bad bacteria. The former is responsible for maintaining an acidic environment that deters the growth of the latter. When the normal vaginal pH balance is disturbed, infections a multiply.
Other factors responsible for vaginal irritation and infections include hormonal imbalance, misuse of antibiotics, use of external irritants, and of course, poor hygiene. Certain infections can be transmitted sexually by infected sexual partners.
Mentioned ahead are a few common vaginal issues that women experience and what you can do about them.
1. Vulvo-Vaginal Infection (VVI)
As the name suggests, these infections affect both, the vagina and the vulva. The most telling symptoms include irritation and abnormal discharge. You may also experience severe itching and burning sensation when urinating. Your vulva may become reddish due to inflammation and you may also find small, but painful abrasions in the area.
You can take various measures to prevent the occurrence of VVI. Start by wearing breathable cotton underwear that fits comfortably and isn’t tight from any corner. This should allow air circulation, thereby preventing moisture formation around the genitals. External irritants such as perfumes, scented soaps, sprays, bath salts, and liquid soaps can also cause VVI.
Also, ensure that you never douche as it disturbs the vaginal pH and makes conditions more conducive for bad bacteria to thrive.
If the infection prevails, see your doctor without further ado and seek the necessary treatment. This may include undergoing certain tests and taking antibiotics and other preventative medication.
2. Vaginal Dryness
Contrary to popular notion, vaginal dryness is not experienced only by older menopausal women. Low estrogen levels are usually responsible for this condition. It can also come about after pregnancy or due to a reaction to certain anti-allergic medicines and antidepressants.
Unfortunately, dryness is more than just a condition by itself as it can cause related issues such as baseline vaginal pain, which can intensify during sexual intercourse. If you’re facing such a situation, try using an over-the-counter silicone or water-based lubricant to reduce friction. You can also try a vaginal moisturizer if the problem persists.
If the over-the-counter lubricant doesn’t bring you relief, then speak with your doctor about your condition. They may suggest you undergo a different treatment.
3. Abnormal Bleeding (Which Is Not Your Period)
Several reasons can be associated with abnormal bleeding outside of your periods such as hormonal imbalance, fibroids, endometrial polyps, ovarian cysts, cervical cancer, and rough sex. If you’re pregnant, this can happen due to an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage.
One way to deal with this issue is to make a note of when and how often you experience it, and seek treatment (or not) accordingly. For example, if you’re taking low-dose birth control pills, you could be spotting and that’s perfectly normal. But if you’re regularly bleeding during or after sex, it could signify cervical cancer. Make sure to see your doctor as soon as possible if that’s the case.
4. Itching and Thick White Discharge
Typically, women experience this due to a yeast or fungal infection is known as thrush. If you have early-stage thrush, you can treat it with over-the-counter antifungal creams and vaginal pessaries. You can also take probiotics.
If the infection continues to fester or you keep getting it over and over again, see your doctor and seek a thorough vaginal yeast infection treatment.
5. Cysts and Blisters
Any bumps or lumps you see on your vagina could be sebaceous cysts. They look like pimples and are full of sebum. Some bumps can also be genital warts, which are caused by bad bacteria. Vaginal infections such as genital herpes and syphilis can give rise to blisters.
You can prevent the formation of cysts and blisters by keeping your nether region dry and clean. If you find you have the ingrown hair, apply a warm compress to feel better. Take adequate precautions to avoid passing these conditions on to your partner. Also, make sure to get yourself tested and treated by your doctor as soon as you notice any cyst or blister.
6. Frequent and Painful Urination
This can result from urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stones, menopause, or an inflamed bladder (a serious condition known as interstitial cystitis).
To treat this, drink plenty of water and healthy fluids to flush out germs in the urine. Cranberry juice is known to be particularly helpful in fighting UTI. Also, after urinating or bowel movements, wipe from front to back to keep germs away from the vagina. Try and urinate after sex so that germs don’t find an entryway into the urinary tract.
If the problem continues or occurs frequently despite taking the above measures, make it a point to see your doctor. Also, check for traces of blood in your urine. If you experience fever or a backache along with painful urination, you may have a serious kidney infection. Discuss these conditions with your doctor immediately.
7. Painful Sex
Painful sex can be the result of inexperience, stress, or inadequate lubrication. However, if sex is painful without any of the above factors being the reason, you may have endometriosis, infection or pelvic inflammation.
To treat this, keep your options open. Begin by prolonging foreplay or trying different positions during sex to figure out the one most comfortable for you. This may alleviate pain. In other cases, your doctor may diagnose you with vaginismus, which is the painful condition where the vaginal muscles tighten up to the extent that they end up blocking the opening of the vagina. Seek treatment accordingly.
8. Vaginal Numbness
Vaginal numbness can be the result of hormonal changes, menopause, or frequent and prolonged bike riding. This is not to be confused with loose vaginal muscles or expanded vaginal canal, which can be caused by childbirth or age.
If you think your problem is due to your bike, get a padded seat installed or wear padded shorts. However, if it is due to the other two reasons, see a doctor to seek appropriate treatment. To tighten your loose vagina, consider a vaginal rejuvenation procedure that’s easy, safe, affordable, and suitable for you.
Maintaining good vaginal health can be easy if you take a few precautions and practice good hygiene. Vaginal infection symptoms can be prevented by being careful about the way you go about doing your daily activities and the personal hygiene products you use. The above tips can be helpful if you’re experiencing low-risk vaginal problems. It is important to seek the necessary treatment if you think the infection is becoming chronic. Whether it is due to your hormones, lifestyle choices or hygiene, it is crucial that you discuss your vaginal health issues openly with your doctor.