Many factors can play a role in the occurrence of vaginal infections and discharge. What can you do to reduce your risk of vaginal infections? Practicing these simple tips significantly reduces your risk of getting a vaginal infection:
- Always wear cotton panties. Cotton allows your genital area to breathe, helping it stay dry. It's also a good idea to wear panties only during the day and not at night when you are sleeping.
- Don't use vaginal douches.
- Never use petroleum jelly or oils for vaginal lubrication. This can create a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.
- If you are being treated for a vaginal infection, use all the medication as directed, even if you think you are better.
- Don't have sexual intercourse during treatment for a vaginal infection. Wait until you have no more symptoms.
- Avoid vaginal contact with products that can irritate the vagina, such as feminine hygiene products, perfumed or deodorant soaps, powders, lotions, and bubble baths.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing, such as bathing suits, exercise wear, or pantyhose, for prolonged periods of time.
- Many times, vaginal infections cause intense itching - don't scratch! Scratching infected, inflamed areas will only make things worse.
- If your period starts while you are using vaginal creams or suppositories, continue your regular medication schedule during your period, and don't use tampons - use pads instead.
- If you are self-treating a vaginal infection and your symptoms have not improved after treatment, see your health care provider for a vaginal exam. Don't use any vaginal products or treatments for 48 hours before your appointment.
- Always use condoms during sexual intercourse unless you are in a long-term monogamous relationship.
- Always wipe from front to back after urination or having a bowel movement. Improper wiping easily spreads bacteria to the vagina and may lead to vaginal discharge and infection.
Of course, good basic hygiene, getting plenty of sleep, and a well-rounded diet with an appropriate fluid intake are always a good idea for vaginal health, as well as for your overall health and well-being.
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