How often should I wash my intimate area?
Washing more than once a day can can increase dryness in your intimate area. Limit yourself to one wash a day with water and a specially designed feminine hygiene soap.
How much discharge is normal?
It is normal for a woman to have up to a tablespoon of vaginal discharge everyday. The consistency of the discharge may vary during the month, depending on where you are in your cycle. For a woman who is not on the pill and who ovulates, for example, the discharge might become much more during the middle of her cycle and be very sticky. Postmenopausal women who start taking oestrogen supplementation may experience a reappearance of discharge after not having any for many years.
When is my discharge abnormal?
It is not normal if it itches. An itchy discharge is usually due to a candida infection or so-called thrush. Candida is one of the many millions of organisms that live in our bowels and can easily overgrow when the pH of the vaginal area changes. This can occur due to bubble baths, using the wrong kind of soap or flavoured lubrication or as a result of a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates.
If there is an unpleasant odour, it is not normal. This can be due to an infection, but it is also influenced by what we eat and can be caused by over-cleaning the vaginal area, especially when the wrong soaps are used.
Should I douche?
Douching is the method of washing out the vagina with a mixture of water and vinegar.
Douches are often sold in pharmacies and supermarkets and contain harmful antiseptics and fragrances. Many women have been misinformed and believe that it is necessary to clean the inside of their vaginas. This is not true and in fact harmful. When you douche, you also kill off all the protective mucus that helps to maintain the pH balance and health of your vagina.
Why is the pH of my vaginal area so important?
The lactic acid the vagina produces naturally helps to control the pH balance of your vaginal area and keep it between 3.8 to 4.5. The correct pH balance is necessary to prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and fungi and maintain the balance of beneficial bacteria in the vagina. When the pH balance is not maintained it can lead to irritation and discomfort.
What are the symptoms of an abnormal vaginal pH?
Itching, excess discharge and painful urination are all signs that the pH of your vaginal area is imbalanced.