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A Gynecologist Shares What You Should Know

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I often flash to that scene sex and the cityOver lunch, Miranda asks Charlotte, “Have you ever seen yourself in a hand mirror?” As Charlotte frowns at her, she is disappointed with her vaginal health and regrets that it has become a topic of conversation. If possible, please take my compact to the women’s restroom. ”

Love or hate the early show, that scene is appropriate. please think about it. If you have a vagina, how well do you know it? And what about your vulva? Do you know if they are healthy and what their purpose is?

Zero judge here. I only recently found out all about myself, but it turns out I wasn’t the only one who needed an anatomy lesson.a 2016 survey According to The Eve Appeal, a British gynecologic cancer research charity, almost half of the women surveyed claim that their vagina could not be located.

Feature image by Michelle Nash.

Image of Riley Reed jen rose smith.

We believe that this lack of knowledge is to our detriment Dr. Jodie Horton“So many people don’t know how to identify their anatomy and how it works,” says the board-certified OB/GYN. “Knowing your body empowers you to defend yourself and get the support and treatment you need.”

As Dr. Horton points out, it’s easy to take our vaginal health and anatomy for granted when all is well. Because it can cause a lot of anxiety when it’s off.”

To demystify this amazing part of the female body, we asked Dr. Horton what you need to know for optimal vulvar and vaginal health. We’ve included some great new products.

Anatomy 101: Vagina and Vulva

These two important parts of the female genitalia are often misunderstood.

the vagina is internal The female genitalia, Dr. Horton says. “It’s a tubular structure, usually three to four inches long, that connects the vulva to the cervix, known as the cervix.” plays an important role in

the vulva is external Female genitalia, continues Dr. Horton. This includes the mons pubis, the clitoris her hood, the clitoris, the labia majora (aka the outer lips) and labia minora (the inner lips), and the meatus.

Image by Michelle Nash.

common vaginal health problems

Vaginal discharge is one of the most common causes of concern, says Dr. Horton. But here’s the problem. Not all discharges mean something bad. If your vagina is functioning normally, secretions are part of your normal health system. “The vagina is a self-cleaning oven,” explains Dr. Horton. Dr. Horton says women on average discharge between one teaspoon and one tablespoon of vaginal discharge each day. This fluid, milky or cloudy when healthy, is produced by glands in the vagina. It contains cells expelled from the cervix and vagina and the unique bacteria that keep the vagina clean.

That said, some discharges imply There is a problem. If it’s green or yellow, or if it smells fishy or foul, it’s time to see a doctor. The same goes for itching and irritation. These could mean yeast buildup, bacterial infection, or another potential problem.

Dr. Horton also says it’s important to see a doctor if you think you’ve contracted an STD. It’s important to practice safe sex to keep yourself safe,” she adds.

common vulva problems

Vulvar cysts are also common, but “most are benign so don’t worry,” says Dr. Horton. In many cases, cysts are the result of ingrown hairs, and some women are prone to them, she added. Cysts can be prevented.

Bartholin’s cysts (fluid-filled cysts near the opening of the vagina) are also common. These can be caused by injury or irritation to the vulva, sexually transmitted infections, or bacteria such as E. coli, Dr. Horton says.

How to keep your vagina and vulva healthy

According to Dr. Horton, the best way to prevent vaginal infections is good hygiene. But this does not mean using old soap. Keeping this area healthy and clean requires simplicity and care.

First, something like this no To do:

  • “Don’t try to mask normal discharge or odors,” says Dr. Horton. “If you think you have an infection, seek medical advice and treatment.”
  • Do not use soaps containing fragrances or dyes on your vagina or vulva. It can change the pH of the vagina, altering the balance of lactobacilli in the vagina and increasing the risk of vaginal infections,” adds Dr. Horton. “If you Must Clean your vagina. Use only water. ’ But as mentioned earlier, a healthy vagina cleans itself.
  • Also avoid feminine sprays, perfumes and douching. These can also disrupt her healthy PH and vaginal microbiome.
photo courtesy Danny Piasecki.

Well, here’s what to do:

  • Keep your feminine routine simple, Dr. Horton emphasizes.
  • To clean the vulva (genitalia), use a gentle cleanser that is free of fragrances, dyes, glycerin and parabens. All of these can disrupt the vaginal microbiome.
  • Wear underwear made from breathable natural materials such as cotton or bamboo. “These absorbent fabrics are moisture-wicking, keeping the vulva and vagina dry when heat and moisture can build up throughout the day,” adds Dr. Horton.
  • Practice safe sex. This is what Dr. Horton says should be taken seriously. “STIs can increase the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases, cause infertility and affect pregnancy.”
  • If you’re prone to ingrown hair, consider gentle hair removal methods like waxing, sugaring, or laser hair removal. “Or, as Dr. Horton suggests, consider not plucking your pubic hair at all.
  • Wipe from front to back. “This minimizes the chances of bacteria entering the vagina or bladder through the anus and causing an infection.”

Probiotics: To Take or Not to Take?

Dr. Horton’s advice is enthusiastic. “Probiotics aren’t just for gut health. It helps in treatment and prevention.”

about knowing your body

She was on to something when Samantha begged Charlotte to pick up a compact mirror and take a look. Please,” he said. The better he knows himself, the better he can decipher when things go wrong.

This is all part of preventive care for healthy vulvar and vaginal health, she adds, and should also include regular gynecological examinations. , and a thorough examination of the pelvic organs, including the cervix, uterus, and ovaries.During the visit, you will be screened for sexually transmitted infections, have a Pap smear, and address concerns about your vaginal health. You can also

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