Intimate conditions: what to look out for and why
Intimate health affects all women, but the subject still isn’t raised enough. Always remember you are not alone and your intimate health isn’t something you should feel embarrassed about. Most vaginal conditions such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis (BV) are easy to resolve whilst can cause discomfort if left untreated. That’s why it’s always best take special care of your intimate parts, and seek medical advice whenever you just feel something isn’t right.1
The reason why it’s best to take extra care of your intimate areas is that your vagina is a highly susceptible environment for microbes to develop. The pH of your vagina is different from the pH of the rest of your body, so even using a harsh soap can disturb the pH level. Then there’s your period, when poor hygiene can lead to bacterial development. Also, some bacteria can be transmitted during sex.
Vaginal Infections can start with itching between your legs or an unusual, often smelly discharge. If you notice these symptoms, remember it’s never a good idea to keep quiet about it and hope it will just go away.2 Don’t stress as these conditions are common and usually easily treatable, but it’s always advisable to seek help from your doctor or pharmacists when you notice anything unusual for the first time.
It is also worth understanding more about your vaginal discharge. You might even think that typical discharge alone is already a sign of infection. However, typical (clear or white) discharge is a normal sign which indicates that your vagina is healthy. Your body produces discharge so that your vagina can clean and lubricate itself. However, smelly and/or colored discharge may indicate that you have an infection.3
Causes and triggers of vaginal infections
Vaginal infections may be caused by bacteria, yeast or other microorganisms. There are some conditions that can make them more likely to happen:
- Taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all bacteria, including your good bacteria, so there is nothing to prevent the yeast from overgrowing.4
- Impaired immune system. If you have lowered immunity you are more likely to get yeast infections.5
- Reduced acidity (increased pH) of the vagina. Lower acidity in your vagina leads to reduced number of good bacteria and the growth of bacteria causing infections.6
- Poor hygiene. When your intimate area is not cleaned properly, bacteria causing infections can grow.7
- Tight, non-absorbent underwear. By wearing this type of underwear you may be encouraging the growth of yeast and bacteria because of the trapped moisture.8