Experts share top tips to ‘get your vagina ready for party season’
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With the Christmas party season coming up, it's time to blow away the cobwebs and get prepped for the glitz and glam.
However, before you book out the afternoon to search the internet for the perfect party look, make sure to take time to ensure you’re feeling ready – and that includes checking your vagina is ready to party too!
With many people's sex life faltering during the pandemic, a lot of singletons will be looking to get back in the saddle.
Naturally, for party season, we all want to be looking and feeling our best, inside and out and so Canesten’s Gynaecologist, Anne Henderson has shared five helpful tips to ensure your vagina is showcasing its "inner Beyoncé".
1. Don't go OTT with cleaning it
Anne says: "Being overly hygienic such as showering twice a day can completely disrupt the natural bacterial all over the body, but particularly on the vulva and in the vagina.
"Being too hygienic is not good."
Anne also says showing is probably much more hygienic than having a bath because "you’re not sitting in your own bacteria".
She adds: "There's no chance of the water being flushed up the bath into the vagina, which can cause irritation."
2. Don't be embarrassed by discharge
It’s important to remember that vaginal discharge is normal – most women and girls get it.
It's a fluid or mucus that keeps the vagina clean and moist, and protects it from infection.
Anne says: "It is worth noting that it is quite abnormal for women to have no discharge at all.
"The difference is when the discharge steps across the boundary from being a healthy physiological discharge which has antibacterial and antifungal properties to when the discharge becomes more harmful.
"It sweeps bacteria away from the vagina and keeps it healthy, but problems can start when you have an overgrowth of certain bacteria or pathogens."
3. Don't ignore that itch
While the vagina is mainly self-cleaning and self-functioning, not treating infections can exasperate symptoms.
Furthermore, habits such as wearing tight party clothing or sexual activity can cause further discomfort.
Anne explains: "Ignoring and not treating vaginal infections and conditions can be harmful.
"However, one of the main reasons people don’t treat infections or don’t treat them properly, is because they don't know what they’re treating.
"If you don't have a diagnosis then it can become a serious infection."
She adds: "You could be missing something that's much more serious, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, because these are potentially life-changing infections and can result in serious uterine and tubal damage with problems such as secondary or primary infertility."
4. Do something about it before the big night
When it comes to taking swift action, don’t be afraid to ask your pharmacist for advice.
Anne shares: "With the thrush, I would always go for a local treatment with a pessary or a cream rather than systemic treatments.
"If you have problems with recurring thrush then you need to look more holistically at why that’s happening and what the triggers are and what prevention you can consider because usually there’s something underlying.
"For Bacterial vaginosis (BV), ideally using a vaginal gel will mean that the infection should clear within a few days as it's very easy to treat."
She adds: "With cystitis, I would always caution patients against jumping to immediate antibiotics.
"With cystitis, drinking clear fluids, avoiding irritants like alcohol and caffeine, using an alkalizing powder can help take away the burn. That can all help, but if it doesn't settle within two or three days, then visit your GP."
5. Love yourself first
According to a study conducted by Canesten, 26% of women agreed/strongly agreed that they worried about the appearance of their vulva.
There are lots of components that make up your unique vulva; shape, size, hair, colour and scent.
When asked about these components the most unfavourable one was hair – with just under 50% of women were unhappy with their hair.
In fact, 53% of these women partially removing their pubic hair to "improve their vulvas".
Anne says: "Social media and online pornography give us an image of the perfect vulva, which is tidy and symmetrical. When in reality it comes in all shapes and sizes.”
Confidence coach Jo Painter also added: "Educate yourself about your vulva and what it does for you. Not just the scientific facts but also how other women feel about their vulva, as discussed in The Vagina Monologues.
"Then use a mirror to find out what shape your vulva is, remembering how varied the shapes and sizes can be."
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