| Dr. Charlie Ware
Staying healthy for women also includes being healthy down there. While vaginal infection seems to be a taboo, the truth is millions of women are actually experiencing the problem.
If you are suffering from vaginal itching, burning sensation, or painful urination, these symptoms may be associated with vaginal infections or UTI. But instead of enduring the discomfort secretly, why not learn more about it and begin to take control of your feminine health.
What is Normal Vaginal Flora?
The body is populated with millions of healthy bacteria called the normal flora or microbiome.
The female genital is home to billions of bacteria – where some are good and others not so much. In order to keep the intimate area healthy, it is crucial that there is a balance between these two groups of bacteria.
The dynamic and complex relationship between these bacteria is crucial in keeping the normal vaginal pH and preventing vaginal infections and UTI.
Generally, the normal vaginal flora come from the Genus Lactobacilli. They work very hard to keep the population of bad bacteria under control. For as long as the Lactobacilli dominate the female genitalia, they are able to keep the vaginal pH at a slightly acidic level. In this environment, yeast and other pathogenic bacteria are kept at a very minimal number.
What is Abnormal Vaginal Flora & How Does it Happen?
The growth of abnormal vaginal flora can happen to women at different ages.
However, it is more common among pregnant, sexually active, and menopausal women.
The disruption in the hormone level, inappropriate use of antibiotics, and frequent douching are common reasons why the vaginal balance is disrupted. In such cases, bacterial vaginosis occurs where anaerobic bacteria take over the female genitals causing grayish or white discharge, foul smell, burning sensation, and itching.
In some cases, abnormal vaginal flora also includes the over proliferation of aerobic microorganisms such as E. coli, Enterococci, and Group B Streptococci leading to what is called as the aerobic vaginitis.
This involves a disruption in the Lactobacilli flora. Patients experiencing this type of vaginal infections have thinned reddish vaginal mucosa and abundant yellowish discharge.
Apart from anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms, they are also instances when women have a mixed abnormal flora where no single organism can be identified to cause the vaginal infection. The overpopulation of these pathogenic organisms changes the pH to a more alkaline environment. This makes the bad bacteria including yeast take over control.
Why Do You Need to Rebalance Vaginal Flora?
Apart from the discomfort caused by unhealthy genitalia, women who suffer from vaginal infections and UTI are at risk of succumbing to many other health issues. Complications include higher susceptibility to developing sexually transmitted infections like HIV, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes. It may also put you at risk of pelvic inflammatory disease which may affect fertility. Lastly, premature delivery and low birth weight have been noted among pregnant women suffering from vaginal infections and UTI.
Instead of enduring the discomfort and possible complications, be more proactive when it comes to your intimate area. Rebalance your vaginal flora and keep your vaginal pH in check.
Natural Ways to Rebalance Your Vaginal Flora:
There are many ways to restore the vaginal pH. However, the key is to get the Lactobacilli dominant, get them back to work, and the pathogenic organisms restricted to low numbers.
There are many medicines to rebalance your vaginal flora. The prescription depends on the causative organism behind the vaginal infection or UTI. Your doctor may prescribe clindamycin, metronidazole, or antifungal drugs to clear up the infection.
But to correctly target the microorganism, your doctor may request a thorough laboratory test to identify the offending pathogen. While many of the drugs are available over-the-counter, it is still best to consult your OB-GYNE for proper guidance.
A normal vaginal pH ranges from 3.8 to 4.5. This acidic pH is protective as it creates a barrier that prevents the pathogenic microorganisms and yeast from multiplying too fast.
- One way to restore the vaginal pH is to avoid inappropriate antibiotic use. While it is true that antibiotics are helpful, they can also kill the normal flora found in the body including the Lactobacilli living in your genitalia. When this happens, the opportunistic pathogenic bacteria begin to proliferate and alter the vaginal pH.
- Use of probiotics have always been a mainstay of natural ways to re-balance the vaginal flora. The products contain millions of live beneficial bacteria to repopulate your body with microbiome and keep the bad bacteria under control. Probiotic products come in different forms. You may consult your doctor if you wish to use this natural remedy to treat your UTI or vaginal infection.
- Herbal supplements are also popular natural remedies. They are especially formulated to effectively and safely kill the bacteria that cause vaginal infection and UTI. Look for a custom blend that is specifically designed to:
- Inhibit the growth of several classes of bacteria known to cause vaginal infections. You do not want to consume a different supplement for each vaginal threat.
- Smooth the walls of the bladder, reducing the urge to urinate frequently.
- Stop burning and itching in the urinary bladder while at the same time supporting the growth of beneficial vaginal flora
ConclusionVaginal infections and UTI should not be taken lightly. With more women openly sharing their struggles about the condition, it is time that you take steps to stop it. Restore your normal vaginal pH through medications or use of natural methods and get your intimate area back to how it should be.