Vaginitis by Jamie Kulick, CNM

Vaginal Health 101

  • What’s normal?
  • What’s not?
  • Do I need to be seen by a provider?

To start, a vagina is a little ecosystem that often times can take care of itself (if the owner allows it). 

Every time you have an itch does not mean the impending doom of a yeast infection. Just like any other part of your body, your vagina can itch. If the itching is continuous and not improving then it could be something and you should come in and get checked out. 

Now what about that discharge! The vagina is a mucous membrane and that means it should have discharge ALWAYS until menopause.  At menopause, it can get very dry and that means a visit to see us to help with that vaginal dryness.

Normal changes in vaginal discharge occur with your cycle, it can be clear, white, yellowish and most of the time it’s normal so long as there is no persistent itching, burning or a strong bad odor. That being said, if you are at risk of a possible sexually transmitted infection, you should always get checked because these infections can sometimes have no symptoms. 

Changes in the Vagina causing Vaginitis

Some everyday things that can cause changes in your vagina 

  • Sex
  • Working out
  • Swimming (lakes, rivers, ocean and pools)
  • Tub bathing (including hot tubs)
  • New soaps, lotions, detergents, powders.
  • Pretty panties (not the good ole breathable cotton ones)
  • Douching (never do this) 
  • Sex toys
  • Strong odorous foods like onions or asparagus (can make your vagina have an odor)
  • Hot humid weather
  • Cold weather and sitting on those toasty heated seats
  • Periods 
  • Shaving or waxing pubic hair
  • Chronic health conditions like diabetes or immune suppression 

This list is not all inclusive but it gives you a clue what can cause changes in your vagina.

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