Vaginal Infections (cont.)
Follow-up for Vaginal Infection
Follow up with your doctor for results of your cervical lab tests and Pap test. It is recommended that you have a complete physical examination every year, whether or not you are experiencing any symptoms.
- Because the bacterial balance of the vagina is very sensitive, it is best to let the vagina clean itself. The vagina takes care of cleaning itself naturally through secretions of mucus. Warm water and gentle, unscented soap during the bath or shower is the best way to clean the outside areas of the vagina. Products like feminine hygiene soaps, powders and sprays are not necessary, and may be harmful.
- Douching is rinsing or cleaning out the vagina by squirting water or other solutions (such as vinegar, baking soda, or douching solutions you can buy at drug and grocery stores) into the vagina. The water or solutions are held in a bottle and squirted into the vagina through tubing and a nozzle. Although douching is a common practice among women in the United States, health care providers do not recommend douching to clean the vagina. Douching changes the delicate balance in the vagina, which can make you more likely to develop a vaginal infection. Research shows that women who douche regularly tend to have more problems such as vaginal infections than women who do not douche or who rarely douche.
- Douching is not a form of birth control, and douching after sex does not prevent pregnancy.
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