It’s still taboo for women to talk about their vaginal health – even with medical professionals. It isn’t ideal, as it keeps you from educating yourself on an essential part of your body. The vagina is a complex, self-cleansing organ, with a delicate pH balance that regulates the good bacteria within and keeps bad bacteria out. Between puberty, pregnancy, childbirth, infections, menopause and more, your vagina will undergo many changes. Here are four natural factors that gynaecologists in Durban, Chatsworth and Pinetown want you to know about.
As you age, everything changes in your body, and this includes your vagina. Almost one in two women over the age of 45 will suffer from vaginal dryness as they transition into the menopausal stages of life. During or after menopause, dryness, itching, pain and burning sensations are common. Oestrogen levels reduce as your ovaries stop producing eggs, causing the vagina to become smaller, and drier – which can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are lubricating creams and lotions available that help. These products provide moisture and lipids and can be used to facilitate intercourse as well.
Pregnancy And Childbirth
During pregnancy, high levels of oestrogen and progesterone make your vaginal walls and cervix softer. Childbirth; however, changes your vagina unlike anything else. You might stretch, swell and sometimes even tear. After childbirth, your obstetrician might recommend you perform pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your vaginal muscles and reduce the risk of vaginal prolapse If you breastfeed, your oestrogen levels will drop, which can also cause vaginal dryness.
Medication And Illness
Some medical treatments, such as chemotherapy can bring menopause on early. As previously mentioned, menopause brings with it vaginal dryness. It’s important to note that any medication which reduces oestrogen levels, or treatments which affect ovary function, will impact the vagina in a way that is similar to the effects of menopause. This includes treatments for endometriosis, radiotherapy and breast cancer.
When we’re stressed, ‘fight or flight’ hormones like adrenaline surges through our bodies, disrupting the delicate balance of other hormones in the body. As hormones govern your reproductive system, any imbalance will affect the vagina and could reduce your vaginal lubrication, libido and response to sexual stimulations.
The health of your vagina is essential and should never be ignored, which is why gynae in Durban, Pinetown and Chatsworth will always recommend that you go for a check-up once a year. The changes listed above are common and natural, which is why it’s crucial to have regular appointments so you can be in the know in case something isn’t. Contact Us for more information.