health

Five red flags your vagina doesn't want you to miss.

Believe it or not, your vagina is constantly sending you messages about your sexual health and overall wellness.

“Most of us are fairly shocked to learn that the health of your vagina may be a reflection of the health of the rest of your body,” Dr. Sheeva Talebian explained to Teen Vogue.

“The vagina can tell us a lot about your hormones, your head and your overall health. In fact things like vaginal discomfort, vaginal discharge and vaginal odour can be the first sign that something is off within your body.”

And according to Victoria’s Better Health, 75 per cent of women will experience some kind of vaginal discomfort during their lifetime.

vaginal health
75 percent of women will experience vaginal discomfort during their lifetime. Image via iStock.

Here are five red flags that your lady parts might be waving at you right now:

If you're itchy, you might need to change soaps.

If things are getting a bit itchy down there, you could have an yeast infection, or you might need to change soaps.

The vaginal mucosa, just like your skin, is sensitive to changes in body washes, soaps and detergents.

So although you may love that new washing detergent you picked up on half price, your lady bits might not be so keen.

"The same sort of itching that can occur on your arms, legs, hands and abdomen from changing detergent or adding a new skin care product can happen in your vagina,” Dr. Talebian says.

Vaginal discharge is normal, but you need to keep an eye on it.

Every vagina experiences some kind of discharge and it's completely normal, even if the word freaks you out a bit.

It's when the discharge changes colour and consistency that you might need to investigate further.

"If you have a new discharge, especially if it has unpleasant smell associated with it, or is thick , yellow, bloody or is associated with itching, burning or pain, see your GP," Dr Dasha Fielder recently told Now To Love.

"We have a full vag situation" on Mamamia Out Loud. 

Things getting a bit smelly? Try a probiotic.

If your signature lady scent starts to change this could indicate a shift in your pH level or signal a bacteria infection.

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"A change in vaginal odour can signify that something is off. The normal vaginal pH is acidic is around 3.8-4.5, and infections can alter the pH and therefore the vaginal odour. Select bacteria, like bacterial vaginosis, can result in foul smelling vaginal discharge. Therefore when the odour seems way off you are likely dealing with something other than yeast,” Dr Talebian says.

Taking a vaginal probiotic could help restore the balance in your pH level. If that doesn't work you may have an infection and your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to clear it up.

Dry vagina? You might need a new birth control. 

Your vagina should be a self-lubricating machine, especially during sex.

But as Dr Fielder explained, all women's are bodies are different and lubrication levels can definitely vary.

"If you feel that your vagina is always dry, my trick is to use longer foreplay prior to penetrative intercourse," she says.

If that doesn't do the trick, Dr Fielder suggests using lubricants to avoid any sexual discomfort.

Dr Talebian adds that specific hormones - like estrogen and progesterone - impact the body's natural production of vaginal discharge. So if you're struggling to become wet when you're turned on, you may need to look into changing your birth control.

vaginal health
Your vagina should be a self-lubricating machine, especially during sex. Image via iStock.

Pain when you're peeing? You could have an UTI.

If you find yourself going to the toilet more often and you start experiencing pain while you're urinating, you might have an Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

It's good idea to get it checked out by your GP as soon as possible. UTI's are easy to treat if you catch them early.

“Although vaginal discomfort can make urinating super uncomfortable, pain with urination is usually the tell tale sign of a urinary tract infection. In addition women who report urinary frequency and urgency along with urinary discomfort are more likely to have a urinary tract infection rather than a vaginal infection,” Dr. Talebian explains.