What is vagina?
Vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining which connects the uterus that provides lubrication and sensation.The vulva and labia will be the entrance then it connects to vagina to the cervix which is the lower portion of the uterus.
Microbiota in the vagina:
- Bacterial ( Bacterial vaginosis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Ureaplasma, Mycoplasma)
- Fungus/Yeast (Candida species- exp: Candida albicans)
- Viruses (Human papillomavirus, Herpes simplex)
- Parasites (Trichomoniasis)
What is normal flora and how can it help you?
Vagina flora is a microbiota which is colonized in vagina. They produce bacteriocin (natural antibiotics) to reduce and kill other bacteria from entering vagina and keep pH level balance. They also produce a substance to stop invading the bacteria sticking onto the vagina wall.
Vulva skin care to avoid vaginal infection:
- Avoid bar soap, harsh detergent, bubble bath which have alkaline pH and abrasive
- Vaginal douching is not recommended
- Avoid fabric softener/conditioner, antiseptic detergent and biological washing powder. Preferably to wash panties separately with mild and non biological detergents and rinse properly.
- Change tampons and sanitary pads frequently. Avoid perfumed sanitary pads.
- Wear loose fitting clothing or cotton panties. Avoid close fitting clothes.
- Clean the vulva from front to back before and after intercouse and also after each toilet visit.
- Do not use talcum powder
- Choose a safe method to remove pubic hair, either laser or shaving (change blade frequently)
- Avoid using over the counter cream include nappy cream,
- Postpartum care should be maintained by cleaning and drying the perineum frequently and wearing suitable underwear with sanitary pads if necessary.
- Use separate towels to wipe vulva and body
- Sleep without underwear
- Avoid using sponge or flannels. Try to use a cleaned hand to wash and gently pat dry with a soft towel.
- Avoid wearing nail varnish on fingernails if they tend to scratch your skin.
Symptoms of vaginal infection:
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal itchiness
- Painful sexual penetrations
- Urinary tract infection
- Burning and pain at vulva
- Abnormal foul smell discharge
Causes of vaginal infections:
- Reduced acidity of vulva pH
- Poor hygiene
- Tight pants or non absorbent panties
- Tissue damage (Tumour, radiation therapy, structural abnormalities)
- Irritation by products (harsh soaps, douching, feminine wash)
- Sexually transmitted disease
Investigation available in DTAP Clinic for Vaginal infections:
- Vaginal swab for culture and sensitivity
- Pap smear
- STD urine test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Urethritis
- Cervical screening (Pap smear and HPV DNA)