Common vaginal problems: Types, treatments, prevention tips for vaginal health | Health - Hindustan Times

Common vaginal problems: Types, treatments and prevention tips for vaginal health

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jan 29, 2024 08:02 PM IST

Health experts share all you need to know about the common vaginal problems - types of vaginal issues, tailored treatments, prevention tips for vaginal wellness

Maintaining vaginal well-being plays a crucial role in women's overall health as vaginal issues impact fertility and can also lead to stress, relationship difficulties and a decline in self-confidence. The vagina is a sensitive aspect of the female reproductive system but occasionally, a woman may observe deviations from its typical functionality.

Common vaginal problems: Types, treatments and prevention tips for vaginal health (Photo by Unsplash)
Common vaginal problems: Types, treatments and prevention tips for vaginal health (Photo by Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Aswati Nair, Fertility Specialist at Nova IVF Fertility in New Delhi's Rajouri Garden, shared, “It's not uncommon for women to encounter sporadic vaginal concerns, which can arise from changes in menstrual cycles or intimate encounters. However, it's advisable to address and examine these concerns early on to prevent them from progressing into more severe problems or medical conditions.”

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Types of Vaginal Issues

According to Dr Aswati Nair, certain vaginal conditions such as sexually transmitted diseases affecting the vagina, are more severe than milder issues like yeast infections and some of the common vaginal problems are -

  • Vaginitis: Vaginitis is a general term that describes inflammation of the vagina. Typically, there is a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast. But when this natural equilibrium is disturbed, women can experience discomfort and an unusual odor. Vaginitis can be caused by yeast infection, or the introduction of new products such as soaps or even different fabric types in underwear linings can also lead to inflammations in the vagina. Atrophic vaginitis is another condition that occurs after menstruation. It is accompanied by vaginal dryness and inflammation.
  • Bacterial Vaginosis: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) occurs due to an overgrowth of bacteria. Maintaining the right balance is crucial for vaginal health, as BV can cause vaginal itching or discomfort, and a prominent fishy odor. Furthermore, BV can increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. It is also a growing concern for pregnant women.
  • Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is a STD disease that is caused by parasitic infection. Its indications include redness, itchiness, discomfort during urination, vaginal discharge & odor.
  • Vulvodynia: Vulvodynia is a chronic condition that results in pain around the opening of the vagina. The symptoms can include burning, stinging, rawness, soreness, and even swelling. If left unaddressed, it can interfere with intimate relationships and lead to anxiety.
  • STIs: STIs are a significant cause of vaginal issues. Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Genital herpes and Genital herpes can cause serious concerns such as vaginal discharge, bleeding, pain and lead to serious implication on one’s health and well-being.
  • Vaginal Dryness: Dryness can be brought on by harsh products used there, low estrogen levels, and stress. However, moisture deprivation during intercourse presents a matter of concern.

Tailored Treatments: A Comprehensive Approach to Vaginal Wellness

Dr Aswati Nair revealed, “Vaginal issues are treated with a combination of methods that usually involves low-potency topical steroids, oral antibiotics, antifungals, and antibacterial lotions. Medications such as clotrimazole and butoconazole are usually prescribed for effective management of the above ailments. Antibiotics, such clindamycin or metronidazole (Flagyl), are frequently used to treat bacterial vaginitis (BV) whereas inflammation from allergic reactions are attended to through antihistamines.”

Preventive Measures: Strategies for Vaginal Health

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Manju Gupta, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital, suggested the following techniques to prevent common vaginal issues -

  • Keep your genital area clean: Cleanse your vaginal area with water and mild, unscented soap.
  • Select appropriate panties and sanitary napkins: It is important to choose the right undergarment to ensure that your vaginal area is dry. Cotton is a good material for undergarments. It is advisable to not wear underwear while sleeping as the undergarment won’t retain the dampness of the vaginal discharge. Additionally, tampons, pads and liners that have scents should not be used during menstruation.
  • Avoid tight clothes: Wearing too tight clothes or shapewears for a prolonged period of time can sometimes result into vaginal infections.
  • Refrain from wearing damp swimwear and underpants for long: Swimsuits should not be worn for longer than is necessary as it keeps everything warm and moist, wearing a wet swimsuit will encourage the spread of yeast.
  • Clean your vaginal area dry after every washroom use: Ensure you wipe your vaginal area dry after you use the washroom each time. To stop germs or yeast from spreading between your vagina, urinary tract, and anus after using the restroom, wipe from front to back.

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