Even though there is no manual on how to take care of your vagina there are a couple of rules that we are sure you already know like no douching, don't leave tampons in too long and havng your annual pap test. As we get older and reach peri-menopause and menopause there are a few new symptoms or issues you should be aware.
The following are the top most common vaginal mistakes in women forty and older according to ob-gyn doctors. These harmless habits can have a big impact on the health of your lady parts.
1. Playing Down Heavy Period- Many of us might think that our periods could become heavier as we get older, but that is not always true. Periods may come closer together or farther apart, but they shouldn't necessarily be heavier. If you have heavy periods speak to your doctor because it can be a sign of other issues like fibroid or hormonal changes.
2. Treating the wrong infection - Sometimes we tend to diagnose ourselves and the majority of time when we experience itching or discharge we assume it is a yeast infection and use over the counter medication or cream. You have to know that even though 75 percent of women will have a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime, there are two other infections with similar symptoms. These are: Bacterial vaginosis (BV), caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria in the vagina, and Trichomoniasis(trich), a sexually transmitted infection. Please check with your doctor.
3. Applying Talcum Powder - According to a new research presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research revealed that long term use of talc powder or any powders including some baby powders can double or even triple the risk of invasive ovarian cancer.
Kegel Exercise - Kegel exercises are mostly done after giving birth to tighten vaginal muscle, but doing them regularly can prevent or improve urinary incontinence. More than 40 percent of women in their forties and almost half of all women over age 50 suffer from urinary incontinence which occurs due to weak muscles of the pelvic area.
5. Not Using Birth Control - You might think that you have entered menopause because you missed a period or two and are experiencing hot flashes and decide not to take any precautions of birth control. But you are wrong, because if you are having periods of any kind, no matter how irregular, there is always a chance of becoming pregnant. More than half of all pregnancies in women over age 40 are unintended. You are not safe until it's been at least a year since you last menstrual period.
6. Skipping Contraceptives - According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), adults over age 40 are less likely to use condoms than younger people. Diseases such as chlamydia and syphilis are on the rise among people over 40, according to the latest U.S. government data. Even though you might have passed menopause and don't have the chance of getting pregnant, you still should use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
7. Putting Sex on the Back Burner - According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine 30% of women in their 40's and 50% of women in their 50's say they have not had vaginal intercourse. Surprise?? Well, not having sex for such a long time after menopause when estrogen levels drop may cause tissues of the vagina to flatten and come thinner developing dryness, itching, burning and discomfort. Having sex regularly can help prevent these symptoms and keep the vagina moist and with elasticity. So please continue having SEX or have fun with yourself, it is healthy for you and your vagina!!!!
8. Wearing a panty liner too long - This habit can set you up for infections and irritation. The plastic backing on the panty liner prevents air from flowing through and retains heat and sweat and it can lead to bacterial or fungal infection. So please change your panty liner at least every four hours.
9. Not seeing your doctor enough - We cannot emphasize the point enough. Please do not skip your pap test just because you are not sexually active or because you went through menopause. You still have to go and have a pelvic exam to prevent or detect serious health issues as well as having an opportunity to talk to your doctor about anything that is bothering you like your sex drive or hot flashes.
Mujeres, Lets Have Healthy Vaginas!!