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The vagina varies in shape and size depending on the female. It is elastic in nature, so it is important to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises to keep it in shape. Walking and running can help tone the pelvic floor. Keeping your vagina clean and healthy involves looking after your general health with healthy eating and exercise.
It is normal to have vaginal discharge; the texture and amount can vary throughout the menstrual cycle. If the discharge changes colour or smells, it could be signs of an infection so it is important to book an appointment with the appropriate medical professional. Another symptom of a vaginal infection may be itchiness or irritation.
Ways to maintain a healthy vagina are to wash with water regularly and avoid scented soaps, shower gels for washing the intimate areas. Sometimes soaking in bubble bath can irritate the vagina because it alters the acidity of the vagina. Be aware that scented toilet roll or some sanitary towels can also cause irritation so avoid these items if you have sensitive skin.
Bacteria in the Vagina
The vagina usually maintains an acidic PH, which maintains a healthy balance of good bacteria. If the distribution of good bacteria is affected this can lead to an increase in the PH level making the vagina less acidic. This change in PH can encourage infections such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush.
When menstruating, it is important to wash the vagina daily as a minimum. It is important to keep the area between your vagina and anus clean, to prevent an infection.
Girls can start their period between the ages 10 and 16 years. It is different for each individual as everyone develops at different rates. Do not worry if your friends start their period before you. If you have any anxieties about starting your period, it is a good idea to speak to someone. It is a normal process which involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus and the vagina. The menstrual cycle encourages the release of an egg approximately every 28 days an unfertilised egg breaks down into the uterus and encourages the lining to come away, causing a bleed which is a period.
A sanitary towel or tampon is a way of managing the bleeding during your period. It might take a while to be able to insert a tampon where it feels comfortable. Always use the hygiene bins provided when disposing of these items. You should never leave a tampon inserted for longer than advised as it can cause toxic shock syndrome. Click here for more details.
Word from our GP
“Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise contributes to a healthy vagina.’ Dr Geraghty