Vaginal health: In case you did not know…

Oftentimes, we think we know much about something yet all we have are the basics. When it comes to your vagina, a number of women are ignorant of several truths about it. Dr Franklin Wasswa, a general practitioner at Entebbe Referral Hospital shares some facts that you might find helpful.

Self-cleaning: While many will want to use soap or any other product to clean their vagina, it is a waste of time. You do not have to go inside the walls of the vagina to clean it. I have seen a boom of spas in the city offering vaginal cleansing treatments. One should know that a vagina is a self-cleaning organ.

It is not sterile: This means it is not bacteria or fungus free as it contains some bacteria and fungus that are naturally occurring. That said, these do not cause any problem to you. In fact, they maintain that organ in good health. It is only if those naturally occurring bacteria reproduce beyond the acceptable population that one gets a problem. However, it is not cured by cleaning all of them because that is going to be bad for the organ health. Rather, restore them to the acceptable population.

A good example is an infection called candidiasis. Candida is naturally found in the vagina at an acceptable population; it must be there or else you will have bacterial growth. That means the natural flora of the vagina should not be played with by doing a cleansing, or a vaginal wash because once that population gets out of balance, it can be hard to get it back to the normal flora. This is because there will be many other organisms that may want to take over the space of the normal flora in case of any gap left.

It shades off cells: A vagina is like skin as it keeps shading off and the body brings up new young skin. This process is so frequent that as a rule, whenever you have cells that turnover often, there is a risk of the cells programing system failing or getting confused and then causing a cancer. Therefore, a routine examination by a professional can pick up such changes early, to prevent cancers or catch early and treat.

Sensitive to hormonal changes: A vagina is one of those organs that are sensitive to hormonal changes. When that is understood, a female will not panic when changes happen such as during pregnancy, or period or even menopause.

Women must accept that use of lubricants during intimate times is not forbidden. This is even inevitable as the hormones lower when one ages such as during menopause. In fact, we scientifically know that societies that have circumcision at a wide scale, of which Uganda has become since the WHO programme to mass circumcise, need more use of lubricants because the alteration of penis when the foreskin is taken off causes, to some extent, vaginal dryness which will be worse in the females that are menopausal.

Watch what you eat: Some foods, such as spicy foods, garlic make the vagina smell strong. However, you partake of yogurt, you are safer as it has cultures that assist the area to be healthy and be free of smell-causing bacteria. You should also eat more vegetable and fruits as these are high in fibre and antioxidants that keep the vagina smelling good and healthy.

That said, regarding smell, it is important that you talk to your doctor before you use anything. That way, in case there is an issue, they will give you a medically suitable solution.