Many women experience uncomfortable, vaginal infections (vaginitis) at one time or another. The area around the entrance to the vagina (vulva) can also become irritated. Steps can be taken to relieve and prevent vulva discomfort and vaginal infections.
These are general tips for maintaining a healthy vulva and vagina. Not all vaginal infections are alike and home treatments can worsen some types. If you have any concerns about your vulva or vaginal health, or notice unusual changes in vaginal discharge, contact your health care provider if the problem persists.
The vulva is the area of female sex organs that lies outside of the vagina. These organs include folds of sensitive tissue called the ?labia? (labia means ?lips?). There are two sets of labia. The outermost folds are called the labia majora. A second set of folds, called the labia minora, is enclosed within the labia majora. The vulva also contains the mounded area made by the pubic bone (mons pubis), a small, round organ (clitoris),and the openings of the vagina and urinary canal(urethra).The vagina is the passageway that extends from outside of the body to the uterus (womb).
VAGINAL INFECTIONS AND VULVAR CARE
Vaginal infections occur when bacteria, funguses or other organisms grow uncontrolled. Some of these organisms already live in the vagina and are kept at healthy levels by coexisting with other organisms. Infectious organisms can also be introduced into the vagina by improper hygiene or unsafe sex.
The goal of vulvar care is to keep the vulva dry and free from irritants. In this way, you can prevent the vulva from becoming red, swollen and irritated. Because many infections are introduced into the vagina, these tips also provide a basis for good, vaginal care.
In most cases, vaginal discharge is a normal part of a woman?s reproductive system. Fluid from glands inside the vagina and cervix carries away dead cells and bacteria. This keeps the
Vagina clean and helps prevent infection.
The smell and amount of discharge can vary from woman to woman, and the normal color can range from clear to a milky whitish at different times during the menstrual cycle.
There may be more discharge if you are ovulating, breast feeding, or sexually aroused. The smell may be different if you are pregnant. If the color, smell, or consistency seems different to normal, or if there is also itching or burning, seek medical advice as this could indicate an infection or other problem.
CAUSES OF ABNORMAL DISCHARGE
Any change in the balance of normal bacteria in the vagina can affect the smell, color, or texture of the discharge. These are a few of the things that can upset that balance: Antibiotic or steroid use
1) Bacterial vaginosis, which is a bacterial infection that?s not sexually transmitted, but more common in women who have multiple sexual partners
2) Birth control pills Cervical cancer Chlamydia or gonorrhoea, which are sexually transmitted infections
4) scented soaps or lotions, bubble bath
5) Pelvic infection after surgery
6) Pelvic inflammatory disease
7) Trichomoniasis, which is a parasitic infection typically caused by having unprotected sex
8) Vaginal atrophy, which is thinning and drying out of the vaginal walls during and after the menopause
9) Vaginitis, which is irritation in or around the vagina Yeast infections
Types of abnormal discharge and their possible causes any change in color or balance of normal bacteria in the vagina can affect the smell, colour, or texture of the discharge. These are a few of the things that can upset the balance:
Type of Discharge What It Might Mean Other Symptoms
* bloody or brown -Irregular menstrual cycles , or less often, cervical or endometrial cancer (effects) -Irregular vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain
* Cloudy or yellow -Gonorrhoea
(Effects)- Bleeding between periods, painful urination
* Frothy, yellow or greenish with a bad smell -Trichomoniasis
(Effects)-Pain and itching while urinating Pink Shedding of the uterine lining after childbirth (lochia)
*Thick, white, cheesy ? Yeast infection (effects)-Swell ing and pain around the vulva, itching, painful sexual intercourse
*White, grey, or yellow with fishy odor -bacterial vaginosis
(Effects) -Itching or burning, redness and swelling of the vulva.
TIPS FOR VULVAR CARE
Use only warm water to wash the vulva. Dry thoroughly with a clean towel. (If the vulva is very irritated, you can try drying it with a blow dryer set on cool.)
The vagina cleanses itself naturally in the form of normal, vaginal discharge. Avoid using douches unless prescribed by your physician. These products can upset the natural balance of organisms.
Wear only, 100 percent cotton underwear. Avoid wearing nylon, acetate, or other manmade fibers.
Rinse underclothes carefully after washing, or double-rinse.
Wash new underclothes before wearing.
Use a mild soap for washing underclothes. Do not use detergents or fabric softeners
Use tampons instead of sanitary napkins to control menstrual bleeding. Do not leave tampons in for a long period, due to toxic shock syndrome. Do not leave tampons in all night.
Avoid wearing nylon pantyhose or panty girdles. They trap heat and moisture, providing an ideal breeding environment for organisms. When nylons or leggings are required, wear cotton or nylons with a cotton pants.
Source: Rev. Felix Sakyi-Ntow ,spynewsagency.com