Sexual Health and Feminine Hygiene
Following a good hygiene regimen leads to healthier sex, promotes worry-free sex, and generally increases the libido. Remember that hygiene is just one facet of sexual health; a positive and safe approach to sex also needs to be considered. This includes respecting yourself and your partner.
Urinary tract infections
A urinary tract infection (UTI), also known as a bladder infection, can possibly be the result of unhygienic bathroom or sex practices. Cystitis is a common UTI caused when, after urination, the person wipes from back to front, instead of front to back. Bacteria from the anus enter the urethra, and, if the body cannot expel them quickly, infection occurs. Sometimes, a woman can contract cystitis during sex if bacteria from the partner's genitalia are pushed into the bladder.
Another practice that may trigger cystitis is not drinking enough water and thus not urinating enough. It's important to flush toxins from the body on a daily basis, and more importantly, not to let urine languish in the body where bacteria can thrive. Contrary to popular belief, douching isn't recommended for women because it can cause an abnormal level of acid in the vagina. Symptoms of bladder infections include:
- Intense burning during urination and minimal urine expelled
- Constantly feeling the need to urinate
- Extreme pressure or pain in the pelvic region
- Odorous or cloudy urine
Sexual activity is probably the last thing on one's mind when suffering from a UTI, but it's important to know that UTIs can be passed from one person to another. A proper diagnosis and treatment are therefore in order. Furthermore, severe kidney damage is possible if the infection is overlooked.
Yeast infections, or genital candidiasis, are the result of an unbalanced pH environment in the vagina. There are many factors which can contribute to a yeast infection, including diet, antibiotics, hormonal unevenness, and a weakened immune system. Although certainly not all aspects of getting a yeast infection can be controlled, it is possible to help prevent an attack:
- Choose cotton when buying underpants. The material allows your skin to breathe and deters yeast from growing.
- Select unscented pads and tampons, and avoid feminine sprays. These products are irritants for the genital area and can potentially lead to an infection.
- Find a water-based lubricant you like, and toss out any oil-based ones. Not only are water-based lubes recommended for use with condoms, but the oil can create an inviting atmosphere for yeast.
Both men and women can suffer from yeast infections, and like UTIs, they can pass the infections back and forth. Under no circumstances should one engage in sexual activity until the infection is withdrawn from the body.
Herbs for vaginal and sexual health
There's no doubt that a woman will undergo many hormonal fluctuations in her lifetime. The emotional and physiological link is strong, especially when it comes to the intimacy of sex. Some women may experience difficulty in achieving arousal or orgasm due to their body's reaction to pregnancy, menopause, childbirth, or even stress. These two supplements help support female health:
- Red clover: The suggested benefits of red clover are improved circulation and a decrease in vaginal dryness.
- Black cohosh: Known to promote a healthy sex drive. Linked to a decrease in vaginal dryness.