Preventing Vaginal Infections

Published January 26, 2009 by Patty Brisben

I am often asked by women who are prone to vaginal infections if there are products that are safe for them. Because of these sensitive women, I have removed the odor, color and flavorings out of some of our most popular products. Our Pink Ribbon line enables even the most sensitive women to have a little fun in the bedroom.

Unfortunately, I hear from thousands of women who struggle with their susceptibility to infection. These women often times find it hard to talk to their partner or provider about how this makes them feel. These misconceptions around vaginal health and infections can make it challenging for women to get the care they deserve, so I’d like to take some time to provide some basic information about who is susceptible to vaginal infections and why.

The most common vaginal infection is bacterial vaginosis. Other common vaginal infections include yeast infections (vulvovaginal candidiasis) and trichomoniasis. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an imbalance in the “good” bacteria in the vagina. Vaginal yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of fungus in the vagina. Trichomoniasis is caused by a vaginal parasite.

Some vaginal infections are sexually transmitted. Others are caused by such things are douching, using vaginal deodorants or sprays, wearing tight clothing, wearing non-cotton underwear, stress, lack of sleep, certain medications, or by certain illnesses and diseases. In addition, they may also be caused by other factors, such as an allergic reaction or irritation.

There are some women who experience frequent vaginal infections. Recurrent or chronic vaginal infections may be a sign of a more serious health problem. If you experience vaginal infections regularly, you should talk with your health care provider to determine the cause of the problem.

The reality is that most women will have some type of vaginal infection in their lifetime. Having a vaginal infection does not mean that you are “dirty” or “abnormal.” It simply means that something has upset the delicate balance of organisms in the vagina.

It is important to keep in mind that women can transmit a vaginal infection to their partner, so it is important to refrain from sexual activity until you have completed any treatment or the infection has gone away.

Women with a vaginal infection usually notice a change in their vaginal discharge, such as the odor or consistency. There might also be itching or burning associated with a vaginal infection.
If you suspect that you might have a vaginal infection, see your health care provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes, women try to self-diagnose their infection, which can often be inaccurate and cause the infection to worsen if the wrong type of over-the-counter treatment is used.

Treatment depends on what type of infection a woman is experiencing. For example, a woman with a yeast infection can use over-the-counter creams or a prescription pill given by her provider to treat the infection. Other infections, such as bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis, must be treated with an antibiotic. A health care provider can determine the best treatment for you and for your infection, so it is important to consult with your health care provider before beginning treatment.

Tips for preventing an infection:

  • Keep the vaginal area clean and dry. Wash daily with warm water, rinse well, and pat dry.
  • Use a mild soap externally, if necessary. Do not use douches, strong soaps, deodorants, or sprays.
  • Do not use scented tampons or feminine pads.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Do not wear tight fitting clothing or panty hose for an extended period of time.
  • Use a mild water-based lubricant when engaging in sexual activity (preferably one that is unscented and unflavored, especially if you are prone to vaginal infections, such as Just Like Me or Sweet Seduction).
  • Use condoms or other types of barrier methods when engaging in sexual activity, especially with a new sex partner.
  • Take antibiotics only when needed, and when prescribed by a doctor.

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