How a woman can take care of her vagina

Posted at 02/13/2014 2:35 AM | Updated as of 02/13/2014 2:35 AM

MANILA -- Women usually go to great lengths to make sure that they are beautiful and neat. Taking care of the skin and hair is easy, but how does one take care of her vagina?

On Wednesday's episode of "Magandang Gabi Dok," obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Mean Tabaquero talked about vaginal health.

She explained that it is normal for women to have discharges at different times during their menstrual cycle.

"During ovulating time, iyung discharge malabnaw, parang egg white. Kapag malapit na ang menstruation, mas malapot at buo-buo yung discharge."

However, if the discharge is colored, has a fishy smell, and comes with itchiness, then the woman might be suffering from vaginal infection.

Vaginal infection can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or a sexually-transmitted disease (STD).

Bacterial vaginosis is a common bacterial infection that affects women. Aside from having yellow discharge, women may notice a fishy odor coming from their vagina.

Women who suffer from hormonal imbalance, who are taking pills, or who are nearing menopause are more prone to vaginosis.

According to Tabaquero, vaginosis can be treated by taking oral antibiotics for at least a week.

"Mawawala na yung amoy in just 48 hours."

She added that in some cases, they also prescribe vaginal suppository.

Candidiasis is a common fungal infection that has almost the same symptoms as vaginosis. It can also be easily treated with one dose of antifungal medicine that can be taken orally or as a suppository.

Women with diabetes and those nearing menopause are more prone to this fungal infection.

Tabaquero explained that unlike fungal and bacterial infections, STDs are more difficult to cure.

"Kapag STD, we have to be more specific. Usually antibiotics pa rin pero depende sa kind ng disease."

The most common types of STDs that affect women are gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and chlamydia.

In terms of taking care of the vagina, Tabaquero explained that women shouldn't be too conscious about it because the vagina is a "self-cleaning organ."

She added that the vagina is naturally acidic, and lactic acid prevents bacterial and fungal infections.

A woman's vagina naturally maintains its natural acidity, unless the woman is stressed, is using pills, or is suffering from hormonal imbalance.

She also said that women can use vaginal wash, but it is not necessary unless they are menstruating.

"Ang mga Pilipino sanay sa mabango. Pero kahit hindi mag-vaginal wash, okay lang. Minsan mas nakakatuyo ang vaginal wash, lalo na kapag malapit na mag-menopause."

Tabaquero added that it is okay for women not to use panty liners, unless they are experiencing heavy discharge.

She advised women to change their liners every two to four hours to prevent infection.