Don’t you think it has become much easier to talk about the Vagina? It is hardly a taboo subject anymore. But there is still there is lack of information and education when it comes to our understanding of keeping our vagina healthy. Let us discuss Interesting, strange and important world of vaginal flora and how to keep the vagina healthy. Every woman should know this key information which plays a vital role not just limited to vaginal health but overall health & wellness.
What role does Vaginal Flora Play?
The vaginal flora is a set of microorganisms consisting of bacteria that are naturally present in the vagina, bacteria in the vaginal flora are useful because they provide protection against a pathogen, yeast, and bad bacteria. The vaginal flora includes various species of bacteria, most important of which comes from Lactobacilli family;
For a healthy vaginal flora, there must be a high number of good bacteria and less number of pathogenic bad bacteria & yeast to maintain bacterial balance.
The pathogenic bacteria, which are present to a lesser extent, develop especially when the acidity in the vagina is decreased (disturbed stage).
The healthy bacteria, which are naturally present in the vagina, produce lactic acid increase pH level, which makes it hard to survive for pathogenic bacteria and yeast. They are necessary for a stable acidity (pH) in the vagina.
Factors that can disrupt a balanced Vaginal Flora or pH
The vaginal flora is particularly vulnerable. It is difficult to maintain the natural balance because various factors can disrupt that. They can be divided into three categories:
1. Hormonal factors
In a woman’s life, there are certain periods when hormonal changes occur, particularly during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These changes can disrupt the vaginal flora.
2. Factors due to medication use
Certain medicines can disrupt the protective effect of the bacteria in the vagina. This happens with the use of antibiotics or gynecological suppositories.
3. Daily factors
Disorders can also occur on a regular basis, caused by:
Sexual intercourse (possibility of pathogenic microorganism transmission by partner)
Lubrication of condom
Stress and fatigue
Use of soap or shower gel
Use of IUD
All these factors promote the development of bacteria that can be harmful to the vaginal flora. These can then lead to vaginal infections such as fungal diseases, vaginosis or irritation, itching, abnormal white discharge, etc.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis, also known as BV, is a condition that arises when the balance between the different bacteria of the vaginal flora is disturbed, and harmful bacteria grow too fast. BV is the most common cause of vaginal or white discharge and affects one in three women. Bacterial vaginosis is also relatively common in pregnant women.
What are the symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis?
The symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) are:
A watery, grayish discharge that sometimes has an unpleasant odor.
The discharge is often the worst after menstruation or after sex.
An increased acidity (pH higher than 5)
Bacterial vaginosis does not always cause symptoms, and many women have it without realizing it.
How does Bacterial Vaginosis arise?
If the acid environment of the vagina is disturbed, it becomes easier for harmful bacteria to multiply. This can upset the balance of the vaginal flora, resulting in vaginal discomfort or an infection such as bacterial vaginosis. Medicines can also provoke infections because they kill the good bacteria in the vagina, so there are fewer good bacteria that can control fungi and other harmful bacteria.
How do you keep your Vaginal Flora/ Vaginal pH balanced?
To keep the natural flora in balance, good personal hygiene is crucial. You may not be aware of it, but unwanted bacteria from sweat, urine, menstrual blood or feces may settle between the folds of the external mucous membranes, which can cause the natural acidity to become unbalanced. Because the pubic region is not self-cleaning, it is essential to clean it properly with a soap-free product.