Vaginal Health

Updated 28 October 2014

Preventing vaginal infection

Infections down there can be uncomfortable, not to mention smelly and embarrassing. Here's how stay clear of abnormal vaginal discharge.

Vaginal infection is a common condition, and causes discomfort in post-pubertal and adult women, whether sexually active or not.

Though the condition will affect around one third of women during their lifetimes, there are steps you can take to prevent having an itchy, fishy smelling vagina.

Prevent vaginal infections:

- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement. Pat yourself dry after passing urine. Use unscented, uncoloured, double-layered toilet paper.

- Wash your genital area once a day with plain water or use a mild, unperfumed soap to wash the genital area. Rinse well with a hand-held shower head and dry the area thoroughly with a soft towel or a cool air hairdryer before getting dressed. Don’t use bubble baths, vaginal deodorants or talc, or douches.

- Use sanitary towels, rather than tampons, or change tampons every 4 hours. Do not forget to remove tampons.

- Eat a well-balanced diet, which includes live yoghurt. Follow a healthy lifestyle, since a healthy person fights infection more effectively.

- When taking antibiotics, take probiotics, such as Inteflora, or increase your intake of live yoghurt.

- If you are overweight, get into shape, as being overweight might cause repeated yeast infections.

- Wear cotton underwear or clothes with a cotton crotch. Cotton absorbs moisture. Yeast thrives in a warm, damp atmosphere. Let your body breathe. Avoid tight-fitting jeans, Lycra shorts and tights. Wear loose clothing and sleep without any undergarments at night. After a swim, do not keep your wet swimsuit on, but promptly change into dry clothes.

- Do not use any chemicals, such as douches, spermicides and "feminine deodorants".

- Women who have recurrent yeast infections may become allergic to foods containing yeasts and moulds, such as bread, beer, wine, vinegar, pickles, cheese, fermented foods and juice.

- Yeast thrives on sugar. Diabetics should monitor sugar levels closely. Excessive lactose in dairy products and artificial sweeteners increase the likelihood of thrush.

If you have a question, ask our gynaecologist


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