EVERYONE tries to look after their body, whether it’s through diet or our fitness regimes.
While these are important for overall health, experts say that paying attention to your vagina is also key.
GettyOne health expert has said there are four things to look out for when it comes to the vagina[/caption]
The vagina is inside the body, with the cervix, womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. The vulva (the bit you can see) is on the outside.
The vagina is a tube of about 8cm long which leads from the cervix to the neck of the womb and down to the vulva.
They help us out with everything from sex to periods – but there are some telltale signs that appear when your private part is trying to flag something.
Speaking to The Sun, women’s health expert for BioKult, Dr Shahzadi Harper revealed the four things you need to look out for.
1. A change in discharge
Vaginal discharge starts around the time of puberty, which is due to female hormones being produced from the ovaries.
Dr Harper said it varies throughout your menstrual cycle due to changes in hormonal levels.
In the first half of your cycle, it can be thin, sticky and elastic and become thicker later in your cycle.
She explained: “Some women can have more discharge than others, however changes in colour, smell, texture and noticing blood, can signify infections such as bacterial vaginosis and thrush.
“Vaginal discharge also helps to fight and prevent infection by flushing away dead cells and bacteria, keeping the vagina clean.”
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2. Redness or itching
Vaginal redness, itching and sometimes a burning sensation can be due to hormonal changes, such as a drop in oestrogen that can cause the vaginal walls to become thin and dry.
This, the guru explained, can also tend to happen when breastfeeding.
She said: “Outside factors such as chemical irritants, can also cause changes in redness, itching and burning, so I recommend avoiding certain soaps, chemicals etc, that can affect the vagina microbiome and PH level.
“For those who find that they suffer from excessive redness and/or itching, I recommend taking a supplement like Bio-Kult S.Boulardii.”
She said products like this are beneficial as they include vitamin D3 , which is a dual source of fibre which helps to feed and stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
3. Pain or bleeding
Depending on the type of contraception you are on, you might sometimes experience bleeding between periods.
Dr Harper said that most of the time, bleeding in between periods can be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection e.g. chlamydia or something more serious, which should always be checked by a professional.
“Unexplained pain can again be due to STI or pelvic inflammatory disease and needs to be investigated.
“It is important to make sure that you are up to date with your Cervical Smear test and always wear a condom to prevent sexually transmitted infections,” she said.
4. Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness is very common and can occur at different times throughout our lives.
From drops in oestrogen, anxiety, irritants, childbirth, breastfeeding, and simply ageing, Dr Harper said there are a myriad of causes.
She added: “Due to the drop in the oestrogen hormone in perimenopause and menopause, it means less lubrication, which again can cause pain during sexual and being more prone to infections.
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“Eating certain foods, wearing softer and more comfortable underwear, and using moisturisers and lubricants, are all different ways to ease dryness.
“It’s so important to know, protect and look after your vagina and be aware of all the tell-tale signs that could lead to health complications,” she added.
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