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The vagina, which is the most hidden and inadequately ventilated area, is prone to problems. If you ignore the issues, they might get worse. While regular hygiene practices, healthy eating habits, and a workout are all beneficial to keep your vaginal health in check, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of an unhealthy vagina. These symptoms may be a sign that you aren’t giving your vagina the attention it needs.
Health Shots asked Dr Swetha MP, Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR Layout, Bengaluru, about how to find if one has an unhealthy vagina.
Is your vagina unhealthy?
Dr Swetha says, “Everyone’s vagina is different from the others in terms of its size, shape, type, and amount of discharge that it releases. But you should take care of your vagina as much as you do for other parts of the body. In fact, taking care of the vagina should be prioritised to prevent bacterial build-ups that can lead to infections.”
So, is you vagina unhealthy? The expert has shared some signs with us that might help figure things out and take appropriate actions.
5 signs of an unhealthy vagina
Here we’re revealing a few symptoms of an unhealthy vagina which shows that you’re not maintaining hygiene down there.
1. Itching and redness
A vulva or vagina that itches all the time is not a healthy sign. An allergic reaction to soap, body wash, or other personal hygiene items can result in excessive dryness, thus itching. Along with these problems, infections like yeast infections, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or bacterial vaginosis—a condition in which the usual bacteria in the vagina become out of balance—can also be contributing factors. The best way to avoid this is to get proper advice from your gynaecologist.
Also read: Your vagina changes with age: Know about vaginal health at different stages of life
2. Irregular discharge
The amount of vaginal discharge differs from woman to woman. A typical discharge is typically clean and milky and doesn’t produce a bad odour. “While fluctuations in vaginal discharge are common and not a sign of an underlying condition, this can be changed during the time of menstruation, sexual activities, or certain hygiene methods such as douching,” says Dr Swetha. However, if this continues for an extended period of time, it can be an indication of a yeast infection, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), as well as a problem with fertility.
3. Burning sensation
Experiencing a burning sensation in the vagina is not normal but it is relatively a common complaint of most women. It can occasionally indicate dehydration, but it can also be brought on by diseases like yeast infections, bacterial infections, STIs, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Once in a while experiencing it is okay but if it is a daily affair, you should check with your doctor to find the right cause of the disease.
4. Unpleasant smell
A vagina is not supposed to smell like roses nor are they supposed to smell foul or bad. A healthy smell of your vagina is a little funky and smell can change with our ovulation cycle. So it is nothing to be ashamed of but it is important to pay attention to the changes. Dr Swetha says, “A terrible smell of the vagina may be indicating an imbalance in the pH level or infections such as STIs and bacterial vaginosis.” To maintain the smell, shower regularly and stay hydrated.
5. Change in the colour, odour, or amount of vaginal discharge
Your discharge is normal if it is milky, clear, or off-white in colour. During the menstrual cycle and the time of sexual activity, it may fluctuate slightly. However, if the colour of the discharge is dark yellow, green, brown, or grey, it may be a symptom of a more serious condition. An imbalance or irregular shift in vaginal discharge could be a sign of an STI, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hormonal changes, or stress.
Also Read: 5 likely reasons why you may be noticing more vaginal discharge than usual
So ladies, you now understand why maintaining good hygiene down there is crucial for your vaginal health. Additionally, you can ensure optimum vaginal health by detecting these symptoms. Keep in mind that if you experience these symptoms and they don’t go away, you should always see a doctor.