V Biology

Feminine intimate through life

Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy then menopause. As if life’s challenges aren’t tough enough, every woman also needs to handle hormonal and vaginal pH changes. It’s really not easy being a woman these days!

 

At every life stage, the amount of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone in our bodies may vary. This can disrupt vaginal pH balance causing vagina’s acidic protective layer to weaken, making it more susceptible to infection. Let us take a closer look at the various stages and learn when it’s good to start on a Lactacyd cleansing regime.

 



At birth
The level of good bacteria lactobacilli is predominant in the vagina and is generally influenced by the mother’s estrogen. Vaginal pH at this stage is low, meaning a low infection risk.

 Puberty
From your first menstruation, also known as menarche, an increased amount of estrogen gives rise to lactobacilli levels. With lactic acid secreted abundantly in the vagina, pH is low and a protective layer guarding against infection is produced.

Menstruation and pregnancy
Female hormone levels fluctuate, disrupting the pH balance of the vagina. This interferes with the natural acidic vaginal environment, allowing bad bacteria to grow. 

Menopause

Vaginal dryness is common due to fewer secretions of natural lubricants in the vagina. As hormone production decreases, lactobacilli and lactic acid levels drop, causing the vaginal pH to rise. This weakens the acidic protective layer of the vagina dramatically, making it prone to harmful elements.


FAQ:

Menstruation 

Q: Can I take medication for vaginal infections during my period?  
A: We suggest waiting till your period is over to see if you still need medication. Here is why: effects of vaginal infection medication are better before or after menstruation as vaginal yeast infections tend to clear up on their own without treatment, usually when menstruation begins. Menstrual blood raises the vaginal pH, causing the decrease of yeast cells and infections are kept at bay.

Q:  Are tampons dangerous? Will I lose it inside my vagina? 
A: Tampons are not dangerous, and they definitely won’t get lost inside your vagina. Most women do have a little difficulty getting them out, but with a change in position and relaxation, tampons can be easily pulled out. You might forget a tampon inside your vagina, but you certainly won’t lose it in there. The vagina is like a tube sock. The cervix is at the deep end. It only has a tiny opening for blood and semen. It is not easily forced open. Tampons have not been shown to cause other damage to the vagina or cervix. Infections like the dreaded Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) however should be your real concern. TSS is caused by a toxin-producing bacteria called staphylococcus aureus, which grows perfectly in a filthy environment such as your vagina with an overused tampon. One who has TSS may suffer a sudden onset of fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches and rashes. More serious symptoms include severely low blood pressure and ultimately, shock. But TSS is a rare condition and tampons are not the sole cause. To prevent TSS or any kind of vaginal infection, make sure you change tampons every 4 to 8 hours. Better yet, simply use a sanitary pad. 

Pregnancy 

Q: I’m pregnant and I have a vaginal infection, will my baby be affected?  
A: Most vaginal infections do not hurt the baby. Yeast infections during pregnancy do not normally travel up into the uterus to harm the baby in any way. Discomforts like itch and sore are experienced only by the mother. However, recent research has shown that bacterial vaginosis increases the chances of pre-mature birth or miscarriages. Pregnant women are ten times more prone to getting vaginal infections than normal women. Because during this time, levels of some hormones are so high that the normal vaginal environment is tremendously disrupted, allowing bad bacteria to grow. So if you’re expecting, be sure to visit your doctor regularly to prevent or cure any vaginal infection. 

Q: I’m pregnant and I have a vaginal infection, is it safe to take oral and topical medications? 
A: It is safe to take any kind of medication for vaginal infection during pregnancy unless otherwise advised by your doctor. If you suspect a vaginal infection, consult your doctor immediately so he or she can prescribe just the right type of medications and dosage — to best provide for you and your baby. 

Menopause 

Q: Does every menopausal woman experience vaginal dryness?  
A: Vaginal dryness is normal among menopausal women. When you enter and go through menopause, you will experience a hormonal shift that can cause imbalance. Your progesterone (a female hormone) levels may drop, while your estrogen (another female hormone) levels go up. Or both your estrogen and progesterone levels could drop. With this erratic cycle—a drop in estrogen levels being the most common cause —less lubrication is produced. When your estrogen levels are fluctuating, the vaginal walls become thinner, decreasing lubricant production from your mucus membranes results in vaginal dryness. Consult your doctor for more information or if vaginal dryness causes you discomfort. 

Q: I’ve been having excessive vaginal discharges ever since I’ve entered menopause. Is this normal? 
A: Excessive vaginal discharge is common among menopausal women because of hormonal imbalance. This makes the vagina more prone to bacterial infections that cause discharge. But there is always a cure available for vaginal infections, whether you’re menopausal or not. Consult your gynecologist and use a suitable feminine wash to keep your vagina well-moisturized and healthy. 


Source

  • Dr. L. Brabin. Factors affecting vaginal pH levels among female adolescents attending genitominary medicine clinics. Sexually Transmitted Infections. 2005; 81; 483-487.
  • Kaufmann HR, Faro S. Benign Diseases of the vulva and the vagina, 4th edition, Mosby 1994, 361.
  • Hay P. Bacterial vaginosis as a mixed infection. Polymicrobial Diseases 2002 edited by Kim A Brogden and Janet M Guthmiller.
  • Caillouette J.C. et al. Vaginal pH as marker for bacterial pathogens and menopausal status. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 1997; 176(6): 1270-1275.
  • Vaginal Discharge by The Mickinley Health Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2008.
    www.mckinley.uiuc.edu Accessed March 2009.
  • Menopause & Perimenopause by Marcy Holmes 2009. www.womentowomen.com Accessed March 2009.
  • MSN Ecyclopedia & Dictionary 2008. www.encarta.msn.com Accessed March 2009.

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