How to Stay Healthy Down There

We have all been told by our mothers to wear cotton underwear, that discharge is normal, drink lots of water, and pee before and after sex in order to maintain a healthy vagina. These are all things that don’t require a trip to the doctor. Yet, a major key to vaginal health is taking a trip to the doctor often to receive a pelvic exam. I can already see people flinching from just saying the phrase “pelvic exam”, but relax! Read below to understand just exactly what this exam is and why you should get it done on the regular.

Sooooo what is it?

A pelvic exam is performed annually by your OBGYN. The vulva, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, and rectum are all checked during this exam. Now, I must give fair warning. You will experience slight discomfort but NOT pain. The doctor will insert a speculum ( see this lovely picture below) inside your vagina to open it up to fully examine your cervix. Next, they will swab around your cervix to get samples for testing and manually feel around with their fingers to check the status of those organs.

 

What’s the Purpose?

The purpose is to detect things before it’s too late and give you a peace of mind! Sexual activity, incorrect self-diagnosis, and  gynecological cancers are all reasons to have this exam done.

Sexually Active

With being sexually active, your vagina is vulnerable to numerous infections and diseases. Doctors can check your vaginal discharge for changes that indicate STI’s or even a yeast infection. Not only does this help you detect any problems, but doctors can also give you recommendations on how to prevent these problems from occurring again. In addition, knowing that you’re free from pesky STI’s is refreshing and allows you to continue on with a healthy sex life.

Incorrect Self Diagnosis

I am sure that we are all guilty of trying to diagnose ourselves by either making the problem worse or not fixing it at all. The most common misconception is that “oh it’s just a yeast infection”. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) displays the same symptoms as a yeast infection leading many to believe that Monistat will have them cured in three days. False. Pelvic exams can determine whether it’s a yeast infection and OTC drugs will work or if you need an antibiotic to clear up a case of BV.

Gynecological Cancers

If you have a history of gynecological cancers in your family, early detection is key! During the exam when doctors insert their finger to feel your organs, it is important to let them know if you feel pain or extreme discomfort. Additional testing may be done to determine the severity of the situation.

Regular doctor’s visits and daily maintenance can ensure you prosperity in all your endeavors down below. Early detection and knowing exactly what is going on can save you from discomfort in addition to saving your time and money. So remember ladies, do your kegels, drink your water, and get a pelvic exam every now and then to make sure everything is in good condition!