February, cold, wet, and at the height of flu season. With half the population is on antibiotics, and no fresh air blowing up skirts, women often get a little odoriferous. Some, in fact, smell like a fish canning factory. With women paranoid about being strong smelling and not clean enough at the best of times, adding a slight (or not-so-slight) scent to their snatches can be mortifying.
I was astounded at how many women didn't know what to do when this happened, and thought a blog to explain the basics in vaginal health from a sex therapists' perspective was in order.
Both yeast and good bacteria (the happy kind you find in yogurt that helps digestion) are present in the vagina, and they keep each other in check. If you are on oral antibiotics, then the good bacteria are cleaned out, (along with the bad and inbetween bacteria) and you often get a yeast infection. Red, itchy, thick discharge and you don't want to leave the bathtub. An over the counter anti-fungal is a good treatment. The challenge is that often there is introduced bad bacteria into the vagina and you aren't itchy, but you smell ripe. Daily baths, masturbation to flush out the vaginal cavity and eating yogurt can help prevent it happening, but when you need "fish be gone" treatment here's what you do.
Go to the health food store and look for digestive enzymes and lactobacillius. These are the millions of the good bacteria you can take in a pill. They are usually kept in the refrigerator, and are important to take if you are disrupting the vaginal flora in any way. (ie are smelly girl). Then you need an antibacterial vaginal cream. My favourite is viaderm-k.c. cream. In some places you can get viaderm over the counter, and in some places you need a prescription. A tube will last me for years, and it is a gentle, soothing goop that works with the bacteria pills to clean up the problem in a day or so. 🙂
I think all women should understand their vaginas, feel their cervixes, and be aware of their cycles. You have the power to manage your own sexual health, and a healthy vagina is a happy vagina.