BASIC THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HER VAGINA – A MUST READ

As women we need to know how our body works. This will help us throughout our lives from birth to menopause. In this article we will discuss a very vital organ that we have as women. The organ for discussion is the Vagina. Below are some of the very important things every woman should know about her vagina.

  • At birth, the vagina of the new born baby girl is under the influence of maternal estrogens, so the epithelium(Lining) of the babies vagina is well developed. After some time (weeks), the effects of the mothers estrogens disappear and the Ph. rises to 7 and the epithelium atrophies. Some babies have pseudo menstruation that is seen at birth as some vaginal discharge. Mothers should not panic when they see this. It will cease after a short while when the maternal hormones have been withdrawn.
  • At puberty the vagina becomes normal since the young female will start producing hormones (Estrogen and Progesterone). The lining of the vagina is well developed and the ph. is now between 3.5to 4.5. This is usually maintained throughout adulthood until the person reaches menopause.
  • Dorderleins bacillus is a normal commensal of the vagina. It breaks down glycogen which is in the vagina to form lactic acid giving it a Ph. Of about 4.5. It helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the vagina.
  • The vagina tends to shrink and the epithelium atrophies at menopause. This can make sex more painful, but this challenge can be reduced or avoided by the use of vaginal lubricants.(First consult your Gynecologist)
  • The vagina has a Ph. of 3.5-4.5 which is acidic and helps prevent infection by inhibiting the growth of bacteria or germs.  It is important to know that when the ph. of the vagina is distorted the woman can easily get an infection. To prevent any imbalance in the vagina, women should
  1. Avoid douching or inserting chemicals into the vagina
  2. Chronic diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension should be under control and treated
  3. Avoid abusing the use of antibiotics and only take prescribed medications
  4. Regular exercise and taking a balanced diet rich in roughage and vitamins
  5. Early treatment of all other infections is also very beneficial
  6. Good personal hygiene is also key in helping the vagina stay healthy.  Bathing regularly, wearing loose, clean cotton underwear is very helpful.
  7. Always remember to keep the perinea area clean and dry.
  • It’s a potential canal which extends from the vulva to the uterus. It’s about 10 cm in length and about 2.5 cm in diameter. This allows sexual intercourse and child birth to be possible
  • The walls of the vagina are normally in close contact, but can be easily separated. It is also thrown into folds called rugae which can stretch to allow childbirth and sexual intercourse. After child birth the vagina can regain its strength and elasticity y by performing regular exercise and kegels exercise that helps the vagina and its surrounding muscles to regain its tone.
  • The opening of the vagina is covered by hymen which is torn during sexual intercourse or other invasive procedures. In virgins there is still a pathway through the hymen to allow menstrual flow.
  • The vagina is also a passage way for menstrual flow. Maintaining good personal and perinea hygiene during menstruation is of extreme importance, since the blood will provide a very good medium for bacteria to grow. Also remember to change your pad frequently.
  • At the lateral ends of the vagina (sides) there are two openings called the bartholin’s glands and also some transudation from its epithelial lining. This helps to keep the vagina opening moist.
  • The vaginal does not have glands, but the cervix that is above it secretes mucus into the vagina to moisten it.
  • It is very necessary for all women to be familiar with their vaginal discharge. Knowledge about this will help easily identify when there is a change or any sign of infection. It can also help you to know your fertile period for women who are using the natural family planning method. (Read more on that). See your doctor when you notice any change in color or odor of your vaginal discharge.
  • When there is prolonged labor, it can cause a condition in women called obstetric fistula. There is a hole between the vagina and the rectum or the vagina and the bladder. Urine and feaces will pass through the vagina and the woman will have no control over it. Women should always make sure they get skilled delivery and access to emergency obstetric care to avoid this condition.
  • Female genital mutilation is a practice that should also be avoided since it affects the woman’s ability to enjoy sex and also brings complications like bleeding during labor and delivery

In conclusion, let us remember that maintaining our dignity as women starts from within, and if you keep your vagina healthy, it will boost your confidence as a woman. You may also not need to treat vaginal infections repeatedly. Thanks

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