3 Vaginal Skin Disorders, Explained

3 Vaginal Skin Disorders, Explained

Invading microbes may cause vaginal skin disorders. The Mayo Clinic says that vaginal discharge consists of fluids, cells, and bacteria that shed from the vagina. This discharge serves to protect and clean the vagina and can be of different consistencies, such as clear and watery or sticky and white. If you have an unusual discharge with an unfamiliar appearance and odd odor, it can be a sign of an infection, an STD, or cervical cancer. It’s important to have regular appointments with a gynecologist to maintain your vaginal health. Read on to learn more about vaginal skin disorders.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Anyone is at risk for allergic contact dermatitis, according to Dr. Summers, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah School of Medicine. This is especially true for women. Allergens like latex, a dry climate, fabric softeners, detergents, and fragrant soaps and body lotions may trigger this skin disorder. Symptoms may appear as flaking of the skin and chronic yeast infections.

Erosive Lichen Planus
This is an autoimmune skin disorder that affects the entrance to the vagina and the labia minora. The area experienced pain and looks red and raw. Erosive lichen planus is one of three clinical variants that the vulva is affected by, according to an article that was published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The most common of the three is erosive lichen planus, which is seen as a severe form of the disorder and can cause erosions, leading to erosion that is more extensive and even ulceration.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is acquired when particles enter through skin that is minimally traumatized on the vulva. This virus results in genital warts, dysplasia or cancer. People who take immunosuppressant drugs and smokers are at a higher risk for developing HPV. Genital HPV infections are extremely common. In fact, almost all sexually active women and men get it at some point in their lives, but most people who have the virus don’t know it.

 

6 Reasons Your Vagina Might Itch

6 Reasons Your Vagina Might Itch

Gynecologists commonly see vaginal itching as a symptom their patients are experiencing. The reason your vagina itches can be a number of things, from your choice of underwear to an STD. So, it’s important to figure out what’s going in. Read on to learn some possible causes for vaginal itching.

Yeast Infection

These are common infections. In fact, three-fourths of women will have one at some point. Extreme itchiness and an odorless white discharge that is thick are well known symptoms of a yeast infection. “We suggest you at least call your doctor to discuss your symptoms rather than going to the drugstore to buy an OTC treatment,” says Julianna Schantz-Dunn, MD, an ob-gyn at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “If you randomly self-treat and it’s not a yeast infection, you can make the problem worse,” she says

Irritation

This can be caused by certain products and fabrics. Avoid wearing scented panty liners or wearing any for too long, scented soaps, douching, and using scented feminine powders and sprays. Your vagina also needs to breathe, so wear cotton underwear. Synthetic fabrics can trap moisture against your skin. Gently wash yourself down there with unscented soap, only on the outside.

Trichomoniasis

This is a common STI caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. The CDC says that while 3.7 million people–mostly women–are infected, only 30 percent are aware of it because it often causes no symptoms. Be sure to see your doctor right away if you experience burning, itching, a change in discharge, or external white cracking of the skin. Don’t assume it’s a yeast infection.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

This is a vaginal infection that can cause some itching, but it more likely to show up in the form of foul-smelling discharge. Be sure to tell your doctor all of your symptoms, so they can more easily identify your issue.

Herpes

Not everyone who gets herpes gets large lesions that are easy to see, so you won’t necessarily spot it. “You may feel some itching or painful urination, but the symptoms may not be as severe as you’d think,” Dr. Schantz-Dunn says. “I’ve seen people try to treat herpes with a topical yeast medication—and that doesn’t do much.”

Hormones

Your vagina may be changing along with your hormonal changes if you’re post-menopausal. A dip in estrogen can thin the mucosal lining in the vagina. This can be treated with vaginal estrogen cream or tablet, thankfully!

 

6 Signs of an Unhealthy Vagina

6 Signs of an Unhealthy Vagina

Do you have an unhealthy vagina? Maybe it’s not on purpose, but maybe your vagina isn’t being given the attention it needs and deserves. Read on to see whether you’re experiencing any of the following problems that suggest you may have an unhealthy vagina and need to seek medical attention.

Dryness or Irritation

According to gynecologist Ronald D. Blatt, M.D., vaginal irritation or dryness can be signs of an unhealthy vagina, especially because of menopause. Menopause can make these symptoms occur inside and outside of the vagina. Flaking of the skin and irritation may happen, which can cause uncomfortable sexual intercourse.

A Fishy Scent

A healthy vagina has its own scent. But a fishy odor can be a cause for concern. “A fishy odor with extra clear discharge can be a sign of BV, bacterial vaginosis, that is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria and an imbalance of the pH balance of the vagina. BV is very common and easily treatable with antibiotics from your gynecologist. Natural remedies include apple cider vinegar douche and changes in diet. A strong odor with green discharge can be a sign of an STD, trichomoniasis, so you should get tested immediately,” says Psalm Isadora, a sex and relationship expert.

Irregular Discharge or Itching

It’s possible that you have a yeast infection if you have discharge that has a yellow or white color and looks like cottage cheese.

Burning Sensation During Urination

This can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are treatable with antibiotics.

Inability to Insert a Tampon

“Painful sex is usually a psychological issue, but in rare cases it’s an imperforate hymen — women born with extra tissue around the opening of the vagina,” explains Isadora. This is usually diagnosed by a gynecologist and surgery is used for treatment.

Irregular Bleeding

Spotting or bleeding that happen when you’re not menstruating can be due to a hormonal imbalance. This is frequently caused y stress or birth control methods. It’s also a sign of pregnancy. Be sure to see a gynecologist immediately if you bleed after sex, as it can be a sign of cervical cancer.

Painful Blisters

This can mean you have an STD, so it’s important to get tested immediately.

 

7 Ways to Keep Your Vagina Healthy

7 Ways to Keep Your Vagina Healthy

Maybe you think you know all you need in order to keep your vagina as healthy as possible. But what if you’re wrong? Read on to learn some things you can do to maintain a healthy vagina.

Do Kegels

Working out is important for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles will help you have stronger orgasms and more bladder control.

Wear Cotton Underwear or None At All

Your vagina prefers cotton underwear, which is why most underwear has a strip of cotton fabric in the crotch. It breathes and absorbs moisture. Feel free to wear no underwear at all (going commando) when you’re around the house says Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University. However, when you’re at the gym, wear underwear for an extra layer between you and the gym equipment that is potentially full of germs.

Use Condoms

Of course you’re aware that condoms are good for protecting against pregnancy and STDs, but a study also found that using condoms helps keep the pH level of your vagina balanced, allowing good bacteria to survive. Why is this important? Those bacteria help prevent bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections.

Don’t Douche

You don’t need to — the vagina actually cleans itself. Studies have also shown that intravaginal hygiene products can increase your risk of STDs, infections, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Use Lubrication

Vaginal dryness may be an issue for you if you take certain medications, such as antidepressants, hormonal birth control, or antihistamines. It can also occur after pregnancy or right before menopause. Be sure to lubricate before having sex in order to avoid painful sex that can cause abrasions. Be open with your partner about your needs.

Be Cautious About Antibiotic Use

These drugs can kill some of the good bacteria that keep your vagina healthy. If you need to take an antibiotic to combat an infection, do so — just be sure to fill up on probiotics to keep it healthy.

Use Soap With Caution

Scented body wash doesn’t belong anywhere near your genitals, says Minkin. Soap can be incredibly drying to the sensitive skin around your vulva. You actually only need to rinse with warm water to keep it clean down there. If you’re uncomfortable going without soap, use a gentle soap that is unscented.

 

5 Misconceptions about Squirting

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-skenes-gland.htm

Squirting is the ejection of fluid through and around the urethra either before or during an orgasm. A lot of women want to be able to ejaculate, but they aren’t sure how, and others are able to easily and every time. Read on to learn myths about squirting and female ejaculation that need to be debunked.

Myth #1 – It’s Urine

A lot of experts say that what comes out during female ejaculation is urine, but women who actually squirt say otherwise. The smell and taste are not like pee, according to many. Research on this topic has not been consistent. Researchers determined that the fluid that comes out during orgasm displayed all of the characteristics of prostate plasma and not urine. This made them come to the conclusion that it may be proof that the place where the fluid comes from (the Paraurethral/Skene’s gland) functions as prostate glands in a woman.

Myth #2 – “Gushing” and “Squirting” Are the Same Thing as Female Ejaculation

When the topic of female ejaculation comes up, gushing and squirting are often used interchangeably. But they are actually different. “Squirting” or “gushing” (often seen in porn) is the expulsion of clear fluid from the urinary bladder, while it has been suggested that female ejaculation — if it’s “real” — includes the release of a whitish, thick fluid from the Skene’s gland.

Myth #3 – It’s Caused by G-Spot Stimulation

Stimulating the G-spot might lead to female ejaculation for some, but for others it may do nothing. The Skene’s gland is on the back wall of the vagina and near the low end of the urethra. It might be bear or part of the G-spot. There is a lot of confusion about the G-spot still, and some women may not have ever found theirs.

Myth #4 – Women Who Are Able to Ejaculate Experience More Pleasure

This isn’t necessarily true. Some women may claim that their wet orgasms are better than their dry ones, but do what works for you. Embrace the fact that you love your dry orgasms if you’re unable to have wet ones.

Myth #5 – What’s Shown in Porn is Real

Porn gives us a lot of sexual expectations, but it’s often unrealistic. When you see a major amount of fluid coming out of a woman’s vagina in a porn video, know that this can be faked by having a woman pee on camera or by putting water in the vagina before it’s time to film. It’s been said by many women that it’s easiest for them to ejaculate when they’re relaxed and most women report they cannot do it on command.

 

Things Your Vagina Does Not Appreciate

Things Your Vagina Would Not Appreciate?

If you stop and think about all of the miraculous things your vagina does for you, you might realize how much ought to take care of it. In other words, your vagina cleans itself each day, gives you pleasure during sex, and will help you deliver a baby—it needs some TLC. Read on to learn about what doesn’t make your vagina happy.

Not changing after a workout.

Just think about how gross it gets when you lounge around in your sweaty exercise gear for too long. You’re letting bacteria breed like there’s no tomorrow. If the bacteria enter your vaginal canal, they can upset the balance of the microbes that typically live there and you can end up with a yeast infection, according to Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical associate professor of OB GYN at Yale School of Medicine. So, make sure to take off your sweaty workout gear as soon as possible and take a shower.

Sitting on a bike seat that doesn’t have padding.

If you’ve ever had your labia go numb or even hurt while cycling, it means that the way you’re sitting is compressing blood vessels and nerves in the crotch area, which can reduce genital sensation over time.

Getting a tattoo near or on it.

If you’re considering getting a tattoo below the belt, consider how it might affect your genitals. Anywhere you get a tattoo can trigger inflammation and redness in the area. But your vagina has the most sensitive skin of your entire body, says Minkin. In other words you’re practically asking for irritation in that area if you decide to get it inked. The cheap dye that is used on a temporary tattoo can have the same effect, so consider getting any body art somewhere else.

Putting whipped cream on it.

Or any sugary foods, for that matter. If sugar manages to make its way into your vagina, it can interfere with pH levels and lead to a yeast infection or another kind of infection.

Using baby oil for lubrication.

Lubricants that are oil-based are more thick and don’t wash off very simply. They can become trapped in the vaginal canal and keep bacteria there, too, which can result in infection. Try water-based or silicone-based lubricant instead, as they wash out easily.

Using too much soap down there.

Even a soap that calls itself gentle can be irritating to your labia,” says Minkin. “The less you use, the better.” She suggests using a soap made with no fragrances or dyes, which can cause itching and burning. She also advises against using bath salts: “I always see a slight increase in patients complaining of vaginal irritation after Christmas because they use those salts during their bath without realizing how harsh the chemicals that give them their scent and color can be,” says Minkin.

 

Is a Bidet a Better Option for Vaginal Cleanliness?

Is a Bidet a Better Option for Vaginal Cleanliness?

There’s been quite a bit of talk about bidets lately —in a good way. They’re are said to have originated in France in the 18th century and are common in Asia and Europe. The bidet looks just like any toilet except it sprays water to clean yourself down there after you’re done doing your business. Bidet enthusiasts argue that it is more hygienic and friendly to the environment than standard toilet paper. Bidets are now becoming popular in the U.S.

Kohler is an American fixtures company and is the largest producer of bidet seats in the U.S. According to the brand, their sales are increasing as people are looking to be more friendly to the environment. They can cost anywhere from $600 to more than $4,000.

Toilet paper is a 9.6 billion dollar industry and just two percent of toilet paper that is purchased every year is made from an environmentally-friendly process. It’s a critical issue since that is the equivalent of 27,000 trees a day being flushed down the toilet.

Does this mean you should give up toilet paper altogether? “Cleaner is always better, but a bidet can’t be a substitute for toilet paper,” says David Kaufman, M.D., a urologist in New York City. He explains that only a bidet wash is not enough to do the toilet paper’s real dirty work and that you shouldn’t completely trade in your toilet paper.

Bidets can be beneficial for your genitals by helping to reduce the spread of bacteria, keep you fresh around the time of sex, and cut down on irritation that can be caused by wiping too much. Experts promote the use of a bidet in any situation where it’s tough to clean yourself correctly or when you need to be concerned about extra bacteria, such as after you have sex.

Bidets can be particularly helpful if you are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs): “UTIs are most commonly caused by vaginal bacteria,” says Kaufman. He says women can benefit from washing with a bidet before and especially after sex. Since most bathrooms in the U.S. don’t have bidets still, the next best thing is to get in the shower and use a handheld showerhead, according to Kaufman. If you don’t have a handheld showerhead, use your hands or a washcloth. A loofah is not a good option, though, because it can cause small tears that may cause infection exposure.