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|Some basic health routines can help prevent both vaginitis and vulvitis, an irritation of the vulva. These include:
Follow a yeast or sugar free diet for 3 weeks (see our yeast infection diet). This will help return the pH balance of the vagina to healthy level, preventing the spread of microorganisms causing the infection. For long-term prevention it will benefit you to reduce the amount of sugar you ingest. Easy ways to reduce sugar in the diet include:
1. Reduce the amount of sugar you add to tea or coffee - even by half a teaspoon every 2 weeks. This allows the taste buds to adjust gradually.
Many women who suffer vaginitis are run down, tired or stressed. This can reduce our natural defenses making us more prone to infections. Try to have at least 7 hours sleep a night and identify ways to reduce stress in your life.
Women who wear nylon underpants are twice as likely as women who wear cotton underpants to suffer yeast infections. Also avoid wearing tight fitting jeans and pantyhose.
Do not use any perfumed female hygiene products, and avoid perfumed bubble baths. Instead add a few drops of tea tree essential oil to the bath water; it has powerful antiseptic and antifungal properties. Avoid perfumed and colored toilet paper.
If vaginal dryness is the cause and intercourse is painful, try using a water-soluble lubricant (such as Astroglide). This can help prevent irritation and infections due to tears in the vaginal tissue. Never use oils or petroleum jelly for vaginal lubrication.
Doctors, naturopaths and other health experts are conflicted about the benefits of douching. Many American women douche once or twice a week, most commonly with a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar to one quart of water. If you do douche, try to limit it to once a week and keep the pressure low by holding the douche bag lower than shoulder height. Occasionally a doctor will recommend a treatment of douching for 5 days, with a Betadine or Acidophilus to help clear an infection.
Sometimes doctors recommend women with chronic or recurring vaginitis to use commercial suppositories as a preventive measure (see vaginitis treatment). Another alternative is to try using a garlic suppository. Peel one clove of garlic, wrap in a thin layer of clean gauze and dip in olive oil for easier insertion. Insert overnight and change once a day.
Some women find taking a sitz bath with water and vinegar effective as the vinegar helps make the vaginal tissues inhospitable to yeast. A sitz bath is a shallow basin which fits over the toilet. It is filled with warm water allowing the person to soak their buttocks and vaginal area for up to 20 minutes. Alternatively try filling it with tea made from sage or nettles.
If you do suspect a vaginitis infection, obtaining a correct diagnosis is important (see vaginitis diagnosis). This is because treatment depends on the exact type of vaginitis infection present. The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis and Candida for example, are very similar, but the first is usually treated with an antibiotic and the latter with antifungal medications. If you are being treated for vaginitis, do be sure to take your complete prescription, even if your symptoms have cleared up. Avoid making love until treatment is completed to reduce chances of re-infection. If you are self-treating with suppositories or vaginal creams continue to use even if a period arrives. Avoid using tampons and use pads instead. If symptoms do not clear up after a week, contact your doctor.
|Related Articles on Vaginitis Prevention
For more gynecological issues, see the following:
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