Health is very important, and like with any parts of our bodies, we should never ignore the sexual organs.
While it might look okay down there, there could be a lot of signs your vagina might be trying to tell you something.
According to Anne Henderson, a consultant gynaecologist, it’s very important to know exactly what’s going on with down there.
She said: “One of the main reasons people don’t treat infections is because they don’t know they have one as they simply don’t know the symptoms.”
The expert recommends checking your intimate area several times a year to help understand any changes.
Anne added: “Women should examine their vulva at least two to three months at a time, you need to check for change in skin colour, anatomy and shape.
“If you’re suffering with painful symptoms or bleeding you need to examine yourself there and then, or seek specialist help from your GP.”
Experiencing an itchy vulva can indicate a number of problem which can range from thrush or a reaction to underwear or clothing.
Vaginal itching can also be caused by vaginal dryness, often onset by the menopause.
Anne explained: “If you have vaginal itching, I would recommend that you wear cotton underwear rather than polyester.
“What’s more, try and use non-bio washing powders rather than aggressive washing powders, because if that’s on your underwear, you’re putting that directly on the vulva.
“Think about what you’re using in the bath or shower too as this could be causing irritation.
“Finally, some tampons which are scented can cause irritation and I always recommend that women should consider using one of the organic sanitary protection brands, as these are less likely to cause irritation and adverse symptoms in the delicate genital area.”
A very important symptom you must never ignore is pain during sex.
However, if it’s a sudden change then should be checked out as it could be the first signs of a serious infection.
Anne explained: “If you are experiencing pain due to vaginal dryness, this could be a symptom of the menopause or a hormonal imbalance due to a lack of oestrogen: This can be treated effectively with local oestrogen replacement which is very safe and is not absorbed systemically into the body.
“In some cases, pain during sex can indicate thrush. If you are experiencing pain and bleeding during intercourse it may indicate an STI or even inflammation of the cervix, which you may need to seek advice from your GP for.”
Change in odour:
Your vaginal odour will change slightly through the month, largely because of the pH level changes.
“Everyone has a slightly different odour and what women find normal or abnormal is not the same for everyone,” Anna added.
She continued: “Getting to know what’s going on down there will help you understand what is normal for you.
“If you notice a dramatic change combined with an increase or change in discharge, it may represent a problem, which needs to be checked out.
“A change in discharge combined with a fishy odour could likely be Bacterial Vaginosis.
“However, unlike thrush BV, won’t cause discomfort. If you suspect you have BV, you should be able to treat the symptoms quickly within a week with a pH balancing gel, such as Canesbalance BV gel.
“Products such as Canesbalance will help the body to naturally restore its pH and reduce bacterial growth and symptoms within 7 days.”
Most lumps or bumps on the vulval area are completely harmless, although they can catch on underwear and cause irritation.
However, in very rare cases, new lesions can indicate more serious pathology, including vulval pre-cancer or cancer.
Vulval cancer can present either as an ulcer or open sore which is more common than a lump or cystic swelling.
Anne said: “The affected area can also be uncomfortable, with burning discomfort and itching, but some cases are asymptomatic. Changes such as this should always be checked promptly by your GP.”
According to the NHS, looking after your everyday health can help keep your vagina in good shape.
It is important to visit your local GP if you’re worried about any symptoms and before buying any Canesten products.
For more information on keeping your vagina clean and healthy, visit the NHS.
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