Our bodies are bombarded by bacteria on a routine basis. Likewise, the vaginal area is no stranger to bacteria, good or bad. Normally, the good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in check, but when the bad bacteria escalate, it could be indicative of a yeast infection, bacterial infection, or a urinary tract infection (UTI). Each of these infections can be uncomfortable and is associated with an array of unpleasant symptoms. You can support a healthy balance of vaginal bacteria by taking some precautions and keeping the following tips in mind.
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria downstairs is to eat a balanced diet. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and non-fat dairy products will help your body keep the bad bacteria in check. To decrease your risk of developing yeast infections, it is essential to control blood sugar level. Eating yogurts with live cultures like Greek yogurt is also helpful for preventing bad bacteria from growing out of control.
Although douching is touted as a way to keep your downstairs area clean and odor free, it is actually quite bad for your vagina. Using an intravaginal hygiene product can put you at a higher risk for STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other infections. These products are also unnecessary as the vagina has its own method for cleaning itself. Deodorized tampons, powders, perfumes, and feminine sprays can actually offset a healthy bacteria balance and lead to vaginal irritation and the development of an infection.
Use Antibiotics Sparingly
These days, healthcare providers are encouraging people to forego using antibiotics unless they absolutely need them to fight off an infection. One of the reasons you should avoid taking an antibiotic as a mere precaution is that they do not merely kill bad bacteria; they kill your healthy bacteria too. Your body needs the healthy bacteria to grow and colonize so these cells can continue to maintain that healthy bacteria level. If your good bacteria do not have a strong presence, your body becomes vulnerable to a rise in bad bacteria.
Practice Good Hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is important for warding off bacterial infections. Experts suggest using a mild, unscented soap when bathing your privates. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with warm water. During your period, it is vital to change pads and tampons often so that they cannot harbor bacteria that might lead to a yeast or bacterial infection. If you swim, you can also prevent the development of a bacterial infection by changing out of your wet suit immediately.
Take Care during Sex and in the Bathroom
Healthcare providers tell people to be mindful when it comes to sex and bathroom acts. Couples should avoid going from anal to vaginal sex without cleaning or changing the condom. Additionally, wearing a condom is good for vaginal hygiene. When using the bathroom, always remember to go from front to back when wiping in order to prevent the spread of yeast or bacteria to your urinary tract.
Be Mindful of Clothing
It is best to avoid wearing underwear that traps moisture and warmth, which can cause bacteria to grow. Cotton underwear is more breathable than other fabrics and also absorbs moisture well. You should also avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing that can trap moisture, as well as body heat, in the genital region.
These tips will help you prevent a bad bacteria buildup in your genital area. If you do notice symptoms of an infection, it is best to get checked out by your healthcare provider right away.