Nearly 3 out of 4 young women avoid seeing a gynecologist when necessary because they’re embarrassed. Ladies, if you’re reading this, please know that your reproductive system is a miraculous force of nature and you should never feel ashamed of discussing its health.
We at Bright Side have compiled a list of issues that are too often ignored until they become major health problems. We hope that you’ll sit back, relax, read, and remember that your well-being is priority number one.
1. The problem of spotting
Spotting is defined as light bleeding outside of your menstrual cycle. Totally unfair, right?! It can be caused by ovarian cysts, skipping birth control pills, or even stress.
It’s important to take time for self-care during stressful seasons of your life. Do things like take a warm bath, get a massage, and remember that your health is more important than meeting that deadline. If stress isn’t the case, consider what could be changing your hormones and talk to a gynecologist if the problem continues.
2. The risk of vaginitis
Vaginitis is a type of inflammation that can cause itchiness, odor, discharge, and pain. Sounds lovely, right? It can be caused by a number of factors and the good news is that it’s not always infectious.
Tampons, soaps, and lubricants can cause noninfectious vaginitis. So make sure to use natural, un-scented products and wash gently with water and natural soaps. If you feel that you have an infectious form of vaginitis, see your doctor as soon as possible.
3. Discomfort due to dryness
Ouch! Every woman knows that a dry “downstairs” can ruin the best of days. This pesky dryness is caused by a hormonal imbalance, possibly due to menopause, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
Fortunately, the solution is simple. Natural lubricants can be used to relieve dryness, just make sure to check the ingredients first.
4. The risk of cysts
The best home remedy is soaking in a Sitz bath for 15 minutes. But, if a cyst becomes infected, make sure to seek professional treatment and don’t forget to consult a doctor.
5. The danger of tight and synthetic underwear
Yeah, we know those silky panties are cute, but it turns out that wearing tight undergarments can cause friction and heat which then cultivates an overgrowth of bacteria and can cause infection. So remember this the next time you see a cute pair of panties at the mall — your health is more important than fashion. Always check the fabric of your underwear! All of your problems could be starting because of the poor quality of your synthetic underwear.
6. Issues after overzealous cleaning
Ladies, we all want to be fresh downstairs but excessive cleaning and unnatural chemicals can harm the natural bacterial balance of your vagina and cause infection. So set that fruity scented product back on the shelf and go for the natural, unscented soap or products that are specially made for therapeutic and intimate hygiene.
7. Bad smells due to the food you eat
No, you’re not a potato just because you had a few fries, but it is true that the scent of our lady parts can often be affected by what we eat. So, no you’re not crazy next time you think you smell like pineapple or cinnamon because bad food can definitely cause a sour scent.
8. The danger of STIs or STDs
Worldwide, more than one million people contract an STD every day, so it’s important to take this matter seriously, and see a doctor from time to time.
Many infections go unnoticed because they don’t have immediate symptoms. Other infections have symptoms like itchiness, burning, bumps, warts, or stinging during urination — which can all be symptoms of an STI, but are not sure signs.
9. The problem caused by ingrown hairs
It’s considered attractive in many cultures to be hairless downstairs, but waxing, plucking, and especially shaving can cause ingrown hairs.
The best way to solve ingrown hairs is to stop removing the hair immediately. Then, soak in a warm bath and gently rub the affected area with a cloth to help remove dead skin cells and loosen the trapped hair.
10. The risk of vulvodynia
If you suffer from vulvodynia, then you know it’s not all in your head. It is somewhat of a mystery to medical professionals and is defined by a burning or stabbing pain around the vulvar opening. It might often occur during exercising or intimate activities. Normally it is caused by involuntary tightening.
A warm bath in Epsom salt and an ice pack can help to ease the pain. If symptoms are continuous, it’s best to see a gynecologist so that they can help you create a treatment plan.
Do you take proper care of your private parts? Have you ever not sought medical treatment because you were embarrassed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for Bright Side