While the media often chooses to only showcase the beauty and grace associated with womanhood, behind closed doors, many women are embarrassed about the issues that they may have surrounding their lady parts. The pressure to maintain both a healthy and desirable vagina can be overbearing and often times the problems are beyond our control. Here are a few sexual health stigmas that need addressing in today’s society.
Discharge is not only normal, but it is essential to vaginal health. You should only be concerned if your discharge has an odd odor or color, is extremely runny or super thick (like cottage cheese), comes in an excessive amount, or is accompanied by pain or discomfort. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
At one point on another, nearly every woman has felt a little self-conscious about the odor down there. The truth is, all vaginas have their own distinct smell and, it does not resemble flowers or candy. You can easily throw off your PH balance by poor eating habits, antibiotics, unhygienic practices, and feminine products. If you are deemed clear of any odor-causing infections, try eating nutrient-dense foods accompanied by a probiotic, avoid using soap or other perfumed products in that area and keep stress to a minimum.
Sadly, there are many stigmas around women who suffer from vaginal dryness, and unfortunately, it can lead women to ultimately lose the desire to have sex. About 17% of women ages 18-50 experience vaginal dryness during sex. It is not solely a result of menopause. External factors such as breastfeeding, birth control, dehydration, and medications like antihistamines and antidepressants can also cause feminine dryness. While the female reproductive area tends to naturally produce less lubrication as we age, vaginal dryness can also be a side effect from a hormonal imbalance, an irritation caused by perfume or feminine products, heightened stress levels, or a lack of arousal. Luckily, there is an overabundance of vaginal moisturizers and lubricants that can be purchased over the counter to promote and retain its moisture. If the issue is a bit more severe and cannot be fixed by simply lowering anxiety levels or making a trip to the drug store, schedule a visit to the gynecologist.
The temporary loss of vaginal elasticity is usually linked to older age and childbirth. However, the vagina is a muscle, and when strengthened, it can return to its original state or even stronger than before. Kegel exercises, tightening creams, and even corrective surgery can be used to tighten your vaginal region.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
While some STDs can lead to more serious illnesses such as cervical cancer or the weakening of the body’s immune system, most of them can be treated very quickly by prescription medication or a dose of penicillin. However, you will need to seek professional treatment immediately to avoid additional damage to your organs.
In order to rid stigmas surrounding the sexual health amongst women, we must educate ourselves and others. The more informed we are about our bodies, this less uncomfortable we will be about discussing these rather intimate issues.
For some more great information on how to better take care of your body, we recommend you read this article! Taking care of ourselves is a lifelong pursuit, and it should be taken as seriously as any other health related subject.