2. Go for an annual exam
If you are over 21 you should go to a gynaecologist for an annual exam. This exam consists of a pelvic exam, breast exam and a pap smear. The first pap smear is performed at 21 or within three years of the onset of physical activity. Thereafter, you should have one every three years.
During the pelvic exam, your gender organs are checked for any signs of problems. The gynecologist will first inspect externally and then insert a speculum down inside to examine the cervix and vagina. The uterus will also be checked by placing a finger in your hymen and pressing on your stomach. The whole breast will be gently palpated to identify any lumps or masses.
A pap smear is quick and does not cause much pain. A small sample of cells is taken to screen for cancer of the cervix, usually when the speculum is inserted during the pelvic exam. These cells are scraped from the surface of the cervix are sent to a laboratory for testing. Pap smears are able to detect pre-cancerous cells as well as cancerous ones and they can be treated to prevent further growth.
It has been suggested by some researchers that an annual pelvic exam is unnecessary if you do not have any problems or are not pregnant. However, an annual exam offers you an opportunity to talk about any physical health problems you may be experiencing and to ask questions. It’s not just about checking for STDs. It is a valuable opportunity to get expert advice and address any concerns.
3. Wear the right underwear (or none at all)
Cotton underwear is best. This is because it’s a natural fabric that can breathe and absorb moisture. Yeast infections thrive in moist conditions caused by water or sweat. Underwear made from synthetic materials does not absorb moisture like cotton and these materials can also contain chemicals and allergens that cause irritation.
Wearing loose-fitting pajamas at night gives everything a chance to air out. If you don’t wear underwear, oxygen can get to the tissues and moisture evaporates instead of staying trapped. It’s also fine to go without underwear during the day at times. When going without panties, rather wear loose clothing and don’t wear anything that may irritate your skin. A pair of tight jeans without panties underneath is not a good idea.
Just don’t go to the gym minus underwear because you will need that extra layer between you and the equipment that’s probably full of germs. You may enjoy wearing thongs but rather try to wear them sparingly because they may cause fecal bacteria to go where it does not belong and cause infections. Of course, wiping from back to front can also introduce E Coli and other bacteria into it. This goes without saying but a reminder can’t hurt because wiping from back to front can cause problems.
Always wash new underwear before wearing. It’s better to wash all underwear with an unscented detergent. The discharge and oils from the vagina prevent infections and chemicals contained in scented detergents break these down. If you’re prone to infections, this may be one of the causes and it’s better to go for a detergent without artificial perfumes and chemicals.
4. Don’t use scented body wash or soap
Scented body wash and soap should not be used for cleaning your genitals. Soap can dry out the sensitive skin around the vulva and other products can kill off the “good” bacteria that help to fight infection. All you really need is a washcloth and warm water. If you feel you just can’t do without soap, stick to one that’s very gentle and unscented.
The vagina has a self-cleaning action and doesn’t need too much from our side to keep it clean. Studies have revealed that the use of intravaginal hygiene products may even increase the risk of infections, STDs, and pelvic inflammation. We have been conditioned by years of exposure to adverts for these products and perceptions about what we should be doing to keep our private parts clean.
Women tend to worry about any kind of discharge. In fact, a clear or very light yellowish discharge is a normal sign that the private parts of a female is cleaning itself the way it should. This discharge does not smell bad and it is not sticky. The type of discharge produced varies depending on menstrual cycle changes. A clear, slippery, abundant discharge is normal when you are ovulating. Once an egg has been released, the discharge becomes cloudier and thicker so as to trap sperm.
It’s perfectly normal to have a discharge but there are times when you may need to visit a doctor. If you have fishy smelling discharge, for instance, it could be a sign of an infection called bacterial vaginosis. Don’t try washing too deep inside the vagina (douching). Douching is not advised at all as it can disturb the pH balance in the vagina.
5. Your period doesn’t have to be a total pain
None of us enjoy having periods and for some people, they are far worse than others. There are some women who experience serious pain and cramps. These are caused by the contractions of the uterus that help to expel the lining that has been shed. This happens once a month if you are not pregnant. There are many ways to find relief from these symptoms, including taking painkillers, applying heat, exercising, and even having an act.
Menstrual cramps can be relieved by using a hot water bottle or a heating pad. Studies have shown that topically applied heat is very effective for period pains. In one study 84 women were tested over two days. The women using heat and ibuprofen together found that their pain was relieved much quicker than those taking just ibuprofen.
Perhaps you don’t even want to think about physical activity when you have a period but exercise can boost your endorphins and help relieve the pain. Exercise also helps to relax your muscles. All you may need to do are some low impact exercise like walking or yoga. If you have a partner who doesn’t mind some mess, and you’re up for it, lovemaking can also help to relieve menstrual cramps.
Eating dark chocolate is a good way to satisfy your sweet cravings rather than tucking into a doughnuts or pizza. Taking certain supplements such as magnesium may help to reduce bloating, cramping, prevent water retention and other symptoms. If you have tried everything and still feel serious pain, it may be necessary to talk to your doctor. Remember to make a note of your menstrual cycle details and tell the doctor about any medications and supplements you might be taking.
6. Find the right birth control
There are so many different types of birth control that it may be difficult to make a choice. It’s not worth settling for one type, even if it doesn’t agree with you because you don’t want to bother with trying another method. Pills, patches, the ring, implants, shots, and intrauterine devices are just some of the options available. There is no such thing as the right birth control method – you must find one that suits you and your lifestyle. You should also discuss contraceptive methods with your partner.
Some of the factors that you will need to consider when making a choice are whether you have certain medical conditions, take medication or suffer from PMS. Other factors to take into consideration are whether you’d prefer to skip periods, whether your periods are very heavy, what birth control methods you’ve used in the past, whether you have a predisposition towards breast cancer and even whether you suffer from acne.
Many people like the benefits that come with using hormonal contraceptives. They may enjoy lighter, more regular periods and experience less acne. Menstrual migraines might be relieved. Medical issues like polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis and a predisposition to blood clots also need to be considered when deciding on the right method of contraception for you.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) that are inserted into the uterus are popular. If you have a lifestyle that makes it difficult to take a daily pill, this can be helpful because once it is inserted, you don’t have to think about it. With a hormonal IUD periods often stop altogether, and this is also the case with extended cycle birth control pills. The copper IUD is hormone-free and so doesn’t do anything to your periods.
7. Look after yourself before, during and after Making Love
Before you have an intercourse, foreplay is designed to stimulate natural lubrication. It starts the blood flowing in all the right places and makes love more pleasurable. Communicating with your partner about what you are finding pleasurable is important because it can get those juices flowing.
Sometimes vaginal dryness is experienced if you take medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines or hormonal birth control. Tell your partner if you feel dry and don’t go ahead until you’re properly lubricated or it can be painful and cause abrasions. Always have some lube on hand if you tend to be dry. It may help to enlighten a partner about what may appear to be an insignificant little bud, your clitoris, as it may not be receiving the attention it deserves.
Never be ashamed of your lady parts because they don’t look a certain way. A loving partner will respect them whatever they look like. When you’re having an intercourse, it may help to be on top. Being on the bottom can cause stretching to your lady parts because you are not in control of the depth or the motion. If you are on top, you have more control.
Urinating after making love can help to prevent a urinary tract infection because it prevents bacteria from spreading. A urinary tract infection can be painful and you may need antibiotics to treat it. Go and pee straight after act is over instead of just falling asleep. If you want to take a post-act shower, use just water to rinse off. A product you wouldn’t think of putting in your mouth, you should not put in or around your lady parts.
8. Decide whether to wax
If you want to wax your pubic hair, read some reviews to find out about places other people can recommend. You don’t want someone ripping out your pubic hair unless they know what they’re doing. Regular waxing can help to break down the density of the hair.
Make sure you’re doing a Brazilian or anything else because it’s something you want to do and not because you have been made to feel bad about going natural. You and your partner may have had an honest discussion about what you both like before you make your decision. This is very different from feeling pressurized into doing something. You should never do something to your pubes because you feel you have to do it. Some women love getting rid of pubic hair and others don’t – it should be a personal choice.
If you decide to wax, expect it to hurt and take an ibuprofen an hour before the appointment to ease the pain. It’s best to wear loose pants to the appointment. The esthetician will usually talk you through the process and try to keep you as comfortable as possible. It’s important to follow the right aftercare. Putting something soothing on the area afterward, like aloe vera, can be really helpful.
Avoid having a hot bath or swimming for 24 hours afterward and don’t wear tight clothing. Any touching, rubbing or scrubbing in the area could cause an infection. Trying to wax yourself is probably not a good idea. There is quite an art to applying the strips and pulling them off the right way. If you don’t do it correctly, this can cause ingrown hairs. Exfoliating (not overscrubbing!) and moisturizing regularly can help to prevent and treat ingrown hairs.
9. Don’t ignore a yeast infection
Yeast cells are naturally found in the vagina but a yeast infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of these cells and you have too many of them. A yeast infection can be extremely unpleasant as it causes itchiness, soreness and may burn when you make love or pee. It usually causes a thick, curd-like, vaginal discharge and red, sore skin.
Wearing clothes that are too tight or lounging around in damp clothes after swimming or exercising can cause yeast infections because they flourish in moist, warm conditions. They can also be caused by using scented products such as feminine hygiene sprays pads, tampons and taking bubble baths. Taking antibiotics, birth control pills and some other medications can also increase chances of developing a yeast infection.
A yeast infection is a common problem that can be treated with medicines like creams, pills, or ointments. Treatment can take one day to seven days. If the immune system is weak or other medical problems exist, a longer period of treatment may be necessary. Treatment must always be completed, even if the symptoms go away. Some people prefer to use natural remedies such as live yogurt, a bicarbonate of soda solution, a vinegar solution or a tea tree oil solution.
Some of the ways to prevent a yeast infection include wearing cotton panties or no underwear at all, removing swimwear and exercise clothing as quickly as possible, avoiding tight clothing and only using warm water for washing instead of perfumed products. What can also help to prevent yeast infections is to include fermented foods like live yogurt in your diet or even to use a probiotic supplement designed to introduce good bacteria and keep that healthy balance inside your uterine.
10. Strengthen your pelvic floor
The pelvic floor acts somewhat like a hammock giving support to the uterus, vagina, bladder, and rectum. One of the keys to strengthening it is to learn how to isolate the area. This can be done with Kegel exercises and no-one will be able to tell when you’re clenching and releasing so you can do them anywhere, anytime.
Kegel exercises involve clenching the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine and then unclenching them. The unclenching and clenching part of the exercise is both important. When doing the exercises, you should not feel any movement in the inner thighs or glutes. Try to imagine that you are squeezing a pebble. You can do them in front of a hand mirror if you want to make sure you are getting them right. You should be able to see a contraction in the area between the front and back of
Start with four repetitions of two second-holds and do this two or three times a day, increasing the hold time every week. You will find that doing these exercises increases your pleasure during the act and they also help with bladder control as well as boosting your core stability. If you want a little help when doing Kegel exercises, some people find Ben Wa balls, also called vaginal weights, helpful. They are inserted and clenched with the muscles of privy parts, making a workout more intense.
For a little extra help for those muscles of your private parts, you can also sit on a Swiss ball for 15 minutes a day instead of on your desk chair. Sitting on the ball helps your pelvic floor muscles to contract and helps to keep it toned with little effort on your part.
11. Cycling has an impact
There’s no question that a cycling habit will help you to stay fit. What you may not know is that it can have an impact on your vulva and vagina. Studies have revealed that women who cycle regularly often suffer from pain, genital numbness, and tingling. It is usually long-distance cyclists who experience this and not those who just do a 45-minute cycling class. However, here are some tips that will help anyone who cycles.
This first measure you can take is to wear the right gear. Padded shorts can help to protect you from that constant friction caused when cycling that can pull and even stretch your labia. Remember that shorts made from breathable material allow sweat to evaporate instead of creating moist, warm conditions for yeast infections to flourish.
The pressure from sitting for a long time in an awkward position may cause temporary numbness but it should not cause long-term damage. If the bike seat is too hard, it can cause discomfort but this usually disappears as you get used to the seat. If it doesn’t, you may need to get a wider, more padded seat. The height of your seat should be in line with your hip when standing alongside your bike.
There is a study that shows that the position of your handlebar can affect the pressure on the pudendal nerve which is the main nerve found in the pelvic area. Your handlebars need be positioned higher than your seat. If you’re constantly leaning forward, your body weight is in the perineum area (between the anus and the vulva) and this can result in compression that may cause tingling and weakness.
12. Give the ‘good’ bacteria a boost
Your lady parts relies on good bacteria to fight off the ‘bad’ bacteria that can cause infections. When you take antibiotics, they can kill off the ‘good’ bacteria that keep the right balance in the vagina. Taking probiotics is a way to address this problem and restore the balance.
Greek yogurt contains live cultures like lactobacillus, bifidus, and acidophilus and introduces ‘good’ bacteria into the body. Don’t eat the sugary kind of yogurt or it will do more damage than good. Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage, will not only help reduce the growth of yeast but also gives your immune system a boost. Other fermented foods that contain good bacteria are Kimchi, Miso, Kefir, and Kombucha.
Taking a daily probiotic can help to replenish good bacteria in the body and provide many other health benefits. A good supplement with multiple strains of good bacteria can crowd out the bad bacteria and support the health of your whole body. Remember that not all probiotics are created equal and you need to make sure that you take an effective one.
Prebiotic foods such as leeks and raw onions also help to maintain the good bacteria. They help to nourish them and help them to stick around. Fiber-rich foods, particularly those high in soluble fiber such as flax seeds, beans, legumes, oats, and apples should be included in your diet. If you are prone to urinary tract infections, cranberry pills will help to stop bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder and urethra.
13. Using condoms
Many varieties of latex condoms are available on the market. The only time when it’s safe not to use a condom is if you’re in a monogamous relationship and both partners have tested negative for any venereal diseases. Condoms can help to protect you against pregnancy and STDs. Some studies have shown that they may even be able to keep your vagina’s pH level balanced and help to prevent infections.
Condoms do not protect you completely or take away the risks altogether. Many mishaps can occur when using condoms that allow you to fall pregnant. It may be put on inside out, reused, put on too late or too soon or left on too long. Using an expired condom is another problem. The latex can dry out, leading to cracks or holes. It always better to use condoms in tandem with other birth control methods for more thorough protection.
As for protecting against STIs, they can help you to avoid infections such as HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhoea. They are not so successful when it comes to herpes and HPV which are not passed in through bodily fluids but by skin-to-skin contacts. They can be transmitted even when using condoms.
You can expose your vagina to bacteria from the rectum and increase the risk of infection by not changing the condom before going from one position. Another thing to bear in mind is that using an oil-based lube can break down the latex of the condom. Stay away from Vaseline and look for a good water-based lube instead.
14. What bumps you need to worry about
Most of us regularly examine our breasts for lumps or bumps. It’s worth adding a monthly examination of the genitals with a hand-held mirror. This will allow you to see any lumps or bumps or changes that might need further examination.
Most bumps will tend to be ingrown hairs, herpes or warts. If the bump is a raised, red hard one, the odds are that it may be an ingrown hair. Herpes presents as a blister with a red base and a clear top. A wart will be flesh-colored and a little floppy. The location of the bump also offers a clue. If it is found inside the labia where hair does not grow, it’s likely to be an STD.
Herpes is not particularly dangerous but it may come back in the same area many times and some people have frequent outbreaks. It is contagious and it can be a problem in pregnancy. You should see a doctor for medication that can help to prevent or treat outbreaks. Genital warts may go away, increase in number or stay the same. They are contagious and are caused by the genital human papilloma virus that has been linked to cervical cancer. This virus is the most common transmitted infection and there is now a vaccine available.
If you have been in the love making from an early age, have many partners and do not use a condom, you have a much greater risk of developing a transmitted infection. If you do not engage in a risky behavior, the bumps you find in the genital area are more likely to be harmless cysts or ingrown hairs.
15. Know the odor of your vagina
Your private part is not meant to have a delightful scent. It has a natural, healthy, musty, scent that is influenced by factors such as diet, weight, genetics, and hormones. The food you eat, when last you showered and the weather can all affect the smell too. Using perfumed products to make it smell better is harmful and can increase your risk of infection.
The smell can be an important way to determine whether your vagina is functioning as it should. Slight changes in odor may be caused by the food you eat and aren’t usually an indication of a hygiene or health problem. Foods such as onions, garlic, and strong spices can cause a stronger smell. Broccoli and alcohol, for instance, can increase the astringency and make it the smell more ‘sour’ due to changing the pH balance.
If it starts to smell like something other than what you recognize, the naturally acidic pH balance may have been affected. In this case, you might need to see a doctor. If something like a tampon is forgotten inside it, it will start to smell very bad. Certain infections will affect the smell too and a fishy, yeasty or foul smelling odor, especially if accompanied by an abnormal discharge, is likely to be caused by an infection.
When you go to the doctor, he will take samples of the discharge and examine them under a microscope to try and determine what type of infection you may have. If he suspects it may be a transmitted disease, he will take a blood sample or a vaginal swab. This is necessary in order to determine what medication to prescribe to clear the infection.
16. Maintain a healthy love life
Making love is good for you! It’s a great agent against stress. It makes you feel connected to your partner due to the nature of its intimacy. The hormones and endorphins released during lovemaking make you feel good and relaxed. But making love has far more benefits than only being pleasurable.
Love can boost your immune system. It causes your body to produce antibodies which protect it against bacteria, viruses, and germs. Regular Love life boosts your libido. That’s right. The more you have an intercourse, the more you’ll want to have an intercourse. If your libido is declining, the best cure is… an act! Many women experience dryness or discomfort during acts. Increased physical activity and perseverance can improve these problems too. Intercourse stimulates the production of natural lubricants. It also increases the flow of blood by going down which gives the tissue elasticity. Lovemaking is also good for your bladder. Orgasms exercise the same muscles that Kegel exercises do. Only it’s a lot more fun! Stronger pelvic muscles help with a weak bladder and urinary incontinence.
Good news for hypertensive ladies.lovemaking can lower your blood pressure. It cannot act as a replacement for blood pressure medication but remember that every avenue deserves to be explored to decrease your blood pressure! If you’re having great intercourse, you’ll know it’s as physically demanding as a good workout. Lovemaking burns calories. Add it to your set exercise program, and you’ll soon see your weight going down and your fitness levels going up. An active love life can prevent heart disease. It keeps your estrogen and testosterone levels in balance. When they are out of sync, they can cause heart disease.
Some women find that being on top during lovemaking works best for them. It allows you to control the depth of your partner’s penetration and the pace as well. In other positions, your partner controls these aspects. And let’s face it ladies, most men like a proactive approach in the bedroom!
17. Keep your weight stable
Weight gain and loss can affect your sex organs. Fat is stored in the mons pubis, the area above the labia. When you gain weight more fat will become evident. It will disappear when you lose a lot of weight. This is known as the infamous ‘camel toe.’ Most women are self-conscious about it, but the mons pubis is meant to have a small layer of fat in it. It is there to protect your lady parts from injury and discomfort from chafing during intercourse.
The higher your BMI scale calculation, the more likely you are to have a pronounced mons pubis. But bear in mind that it is meant to be there, and you can’t get rid of it entirely. Obesity can have an effect on the muscles. The muscles become weakened. This is due to the fact that the body is working hard to keep functioning. Muscle tone and strength takes a back seat to maintain life. As a result, a woman might find that her skin looses down there. She may also find that she struggles with issues like incontinence or prolapse.
If you lose weight, the muscles in your vagina may start to tighten up. But just like any other weight loss program, exercise is an important component. Doing Kegel exercises will do a lot to firm up the muscles. Losing weight and keeping it off is the ultimate goal for those who are overweight.
It has distinct benefits for your overall health and well-being. But it can also lead to a healthier love life as it gives you the chance to be a little bit more adventurous in the bedroom. It’s something to keep in mind as a motivator when you’re about to give in to temptation or blow off your exercise session.
18. Sleep naked
Sleeping in underwear may not be your best choice. Many women express fear about sleeping naked because they feel awkward about it. But the best way to get over that is to bear in mind that it has health benefits. If you’re prone to any thrush or infections, it might be time to consider going commando when you get between the sheets.
The reason you should not cover your lady parts with underwear at night is that it needs a chance to breathe. If you’ve worn underwear the whole day, your lady parts have been confined and suffocated all day. Like your skin, they need to breathe. Being covered up like that brings on an excess of moisture which is not good for the lady parts. It can lead to all sorts of complications such as yeast infections. That moisture is the place yeast, and other bacteria favor for replicating and breeding.
You might not feel comfortable going without underwear during the day. But you can try it at night. If you feel uncomfortable about being naked or worry that it’s too cold for naked sleeping, wear loose-fitting cotton pajama pants. It’s something that’s worth trying. Wait for the warmer months if you worry about being cold. If you feel self-conscious, try to get to the root of the reason for this. Maybe you can work past that and get to the stage where you’re fine sleeping naked.
Sleeping naked also helps the body to regulate its temperature. This improves the quality of your sleep, your immune system, and your appetite. And best of all, it has the added advantage of improving your love life! Think about it…
19. Use lubricant during act
Your body is designed to produce natural lubricants when you become physically aroused. These lubricants make lovemaking more pleasurable. They make sure you aren’t dry down there as this can make lovemaking uncomfortable. The friction experienced during the act can hurt you if you aren’t properly lubricated. When you can relax because you’re well-lubricated, you can let yourself go and enjoy the experience.
The presence of lubricant heightens your pleasure and helps you to reach an orgasm. It makes lovemaking more enjoyable for your partner as well. However, despite the fact that your body produces some lubrication, it might not be enough. You might find yourself dry midway through intercourse. Some discomfort then ruins the pleasure. In extreme cases, your privy parts may be injured by abrasions caused by the friction. Like a machine, it needs to be well-lubricated to function at its best. Many women who have experienced this are put off lovemaking because it was not pleasant for them.
Many women may see lubricant as something that is used for ‘kinky’ acts. They feel embarrassed that they aren’t producing enough lubrication and perceive it as a failure on their part. Time passing has shown that there is nothing to feel bad about. It happens to everyone. As you get older and menopause approaches, your hormones are out of balance. This can prevent your body from producing lubrication. But this doesn’t mean you’re reduced to none or uncomfortable love life.
A lubricant is an answer. It’s a mere aid to help you both enjoy your physical encounters more. Use water-based or silicone-based lubricants. Oil-based lubricants can break down the latex in condoms and render them ineffective. Include the use of lubricant as part of your foreplay and enjoy!
20. Avoid wet wipes
Wet wipes are great for emergencies. They can clean up even the worst mess with the minimum of fuss. That doesn’t mean they’re good for your lady parts, though. Many women clean up after a steamy session with a wet wipe. While it’s a good idea to clean up, don’t use wet wipes if you can avoid it. But if you’re in a less than conventional rendezvous point, they may be your best bet.
If you use wet wipes, always wipe from front to back. If you do the opposite, you could bring germs from one place to another. This can lead to an infection, which is the last thing you want or need. Don’t be too sparing with the wet wipes either. Using the same one over and over won’t get the affected area clean and fresh.
If you can clean up with something other than wet wipes, this is the best way to go about it. Despite the claims on the packaging, wet wipes are not natural. They’re not just pieces of cloth soaked in water. They contain many chemicals. These include phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, and benzo alcohol. It’s best to avoid exposing your lady parts to chemicals such as these as they may cause infection.
These chemicals may act as irritants to the skin and won’t offer any soothing effect. These are only some of the chemicals in wet wipes. Read the package before you use wet wipes down there. The list of chemicals might be enough to put you off them for life. Wash up after lovemaking with a gentle, unscented soap to keep the delicate pH levels of your vaginal area in balance and avoid any discomfort.