How To Know If You Have V.ginal Infection And How To Avoid It

Editorial Team

As the only girl in the midst of four brother, my mother was always adamant about hygiene especially for me, I can count how many times she has said “You know you are a girl, don't do like your brothers”. So for me from a very young age I have always been told to be aware of where I pee and the toilet I use, in fact my mum never liked me to use public restrooms in any way.

When I got to secondary school, it was another story entirely. There was practically no day that when by that our house mistress would not sing into our ears that we would not have kids if we ended up with v.ginal infection.

Or even how we were going to end up barren if we did not dispose our sanitary pad properly. So I also have always been afraid of v.ginal infection. Any funky smell down there and I am running to the hospital.

V.ginal infections, or vaginitis, are very common that most women will experience some form of v.ginal infection or inflammation during their lifetime.

A woman's v.gina makes discharge that's usually clear or slightly cloudy. In part, it's how the v.gina cleans itself. It doesn't really have a smell or make you itch. How much of it and exactly what it looks and feels like can vary during your menstrual cycle.

When discharge has a very noticeable odor, or burns or itches, that's likely a problem. You might feel an irritation any time of the day, but it's most often bothersome at night. Having s.x can make some symptoms worse.

You should call your doctor when:

  • Your v.ginal discharge changes color, is heavier, or smells different.
  • You notice itching, burning, swelling, or soreness around or outside of your v.gina.
  • It burns when you pee.
  • S.x is uncomfortable.

Some women clean their v.gina with water mixed with vinegar and this is said to kill the healthy bacteria your v.gina produces and cause infection. There are certain things you can do to lower your risk. They are:

  • Wear breathable underwear like those made of cotton as they will keep you dry. Also change out of wet clothes, a wet swimsuit after swimming, or gym clothes after working out.
  • Switch to looser-fitting underwear. Tight trousers and underwear will increase the amount of moisture around your private parts and that increases your chances of having an infection.
  • Feminine hygiene products like douches and feminine wash can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your v.gina by removing some of the good bacteria that is supposed to be there to fight off infections. Also avoid scented feminine products: bubble baths, tampons, pads, sprays, and soaps. Washing the pubic region regularly with clean water alone is enough to keep the v.gina clean. Keep your v.ginal area dry, especially after a shower.
  • Avoid using hot tubs or taking extra hot baths. The heat is not good for your v.gina, especially when coupled with dampness.
  • Always wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. Wiping from back to front will mobilise bad bacteria from your anus to your v.gina.
  • Change sanitary towels often. When on your period, be sure to change your tampons, pads, and panty liners often. Try not to use one for more than 8 hours.
  • Watch your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, be sure to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and keep them under control.
  • Practise safe s.x. Do not keep multiple se.ual partners. Condoms do not only prevent pregnancy, they also prevent infections and reinfection.
  • When being treated for an infection, make sure to take your drugs religiously and finish them, even if you feel better after a few days. V.ginal infections can come back and they could come back worse than before.

It is advised that if you see any symptoms of v.ginal infection, go to the hospital and report to your doctor so you can do test to know the exact type you have before using drugs.