The vagina is a tube of elastic muscle inside a woman’s body (internal sexual organ) and is part of the female genital area. It runs from the opening of the womb (cervix) to its outer covering (vulva, as part of the external sexual organ). The hymen is a membrane which partly covered the vaginal opening.
The cervix is the neck of the uterus that makes the bulge shape on the vagina, while the womb (uterus) is where the baby resides during pregnancy. The vagina also channels the menstrual flow (as part of the monthly menstrual cycle), sexual intercourse, then conveys the child to the outside world when giving birth. This process is all part of the function of the whole reproductive system.
The vagina keeps itself clean through a discharge (secretions). It’s a natural occurrence for the cervix to produce mucus (slimy substance for protection, lubrication, etc.) to stay healthy without using any external prompt efforts. The amount of the discharge varies upon the hormonal changes (menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause) and is not always a sign of a disease or whatsoever.
The secretion from the vagina can be thick, thin, or pasty in texture; it can also come in different colours with bloody, cloudy, white, green, or yellow. However, a standard release should not have a strong smell or colour. There might be uncomfortable wetness sure, but there shouldn’t be any itchiness or soreness on your vagina.
There are many bacteria inside the vagina. In fact, except for the bowel, it has the most number of bacteria in any part of your body, but they are there for a reason. The primary goal of these bacteria is to protect the vagina. The good bacteria in the vagina can:
An imbalance with these bacteria can cause infection and inflammation in the vagina. When the acid level in the vagina lessens because of something with a high pH level, it can cause the number of lactobacilli to decrease and so other bacteria will multiply. This event can lead to bacterial vaginosis or thrush which causes symptoms like irritation, itching, and abnormal discharge.
Vaginal itching can also be due to the buildup of sweat not appropriately washed then dried, and even from over-washing or scrubbing of the genital area. Meanwhile, often, it’s the sexually transmitted diseases that are commonly causing the vaginal irritation and itching. The list below is some of them including:
Chlamydia can be responsible for sensations of itching, burning, and irritation. It can lead to Pelvic inflammation and damage on the female reproductive system (worst is infertility) if not treated.
Gonorrhea is a widespread sexually transmitted disease usually acquired by the sexually active young people. It is dangerous for it could show no symptoms and is difficult to diagnose quickly. If the symptoms then occur, both men and women will find a burning feeling during urination.
Genital herpes is a viral disease which also shows no symptoms. However, it can lead to blisters and painful genital area that may feel itchy, burning, and irritated. There is no available cure for herpes, and so it would be best to keep yourself from having them. And even if you already have them, they are not life-threatening, so nothing to worry about so much.
Yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis) is a type of vaginitis caused by a sudden forceful flow of yeast in the vagina. Common symptom includes itching, and burning sensation during urination, and an abnormal discharge in some cases.
The vagina may clean itself internally through a discharge, but you also have to occasionally clean it externally. Hygiene is vital to avoid an itchy rash. The body secretes for a reason, and ultimately, it’s to release toxins and waste that the body doesn’t need. Washing it with water and soap can be helpful, but there are also other efforts you must consider and be cautious about.
Steer clear from perfumed soaps and gels because they can irritate the vagina by acting on the pH levels. Instead, you must use unperfumed ones to clean the vulva (covering of the vagina). Although, in some women, using perfumed soaps are okay, but if you have irritation, better switch to non-perfumed ones for they are non-allergenic.
Washing more than once will help when you have your menstrual flow. Keeping the perineum (diamond shape area) between the anus and the vagina clean can also help. Do not scratch it for it may aggravate the condition and leave surface wounds. Use steroid creams or lotions for discomfort and inflammation relief upon the approval of the pharmacist.
Using douches is not advisable for it will affect even the good bacteria. It flushes water up inside the vagina to clean discharge, but it can also damage and clear out the healthy bacteria which are essential. There is no actual proof about the douches protecting the vagina from sexual and vaginal infections, it may, in fact, increase the risk because of the washed out good bacteria that are natural protectors.
Using scented wipes and deodorants for vagina is not recommended. It can affect the healthy and natural balance inside the vagina. Also, it will help to wear clean, and as much as possible, cotton underwear only. Change it every day.
If you have an itching and burning sensations in your vagina, do not scratch it for it may aggravate the condition and leave surface wounds. Use steroid creams or lotions for discomfort and inflammation relief upon the approval of the pharmacist
You can use CBD infused lotions and creams to help soothe the skin and deal with any inflammations too. However, because not many studies have been done on this particular topic, please advise your dermatologist or doctor if this is a method you would like to try.
Protect yourself by practising safer sex. Other bacteria (bugs) that may cause:
It’s advisable to use condoms when having sexual intercourse. Go for a regular cervical screening. Women from ages 25-64 are welcome. It will be helpful to track any abnormal changes to address any identified problems that may cause cancer. It’s normal for the vagina to have some odour and it will not necessarily tell you that you have an infection. However, if you’re so disturbed about how your vagina smells, it would be best to consult your care provider.