New Rules for a Healthy Vagina & avoiding 'Ovarian Cancer'
Think it's safe to ditch your birth control after a certain age or pat on a little talc powder to feel fresh down there? These and other not-so-harmless habits can have a serious impact on the health of your lady parts.
Wearing a Panty Liner Too Often
If your periods are irregular or you’re dealing with incontinence, you may wear a panty liner frequently to avoid embarrassing situations. But this can set you up for infections and irritation. “The plastic backing on the panty liner prevents air from flowing through and retains heat and sweat, and wearing the same one for too long can lead to bacterial or fungal infections.
Plus, the constant rubbing may cause vulvar irritation. Having a change of underwear, keeping tampons or pads on hand for unexpected periods, and managing incontinence with Kegels, lifestyle changes, or medication may reduce your reliance on panty liners. When you do use them, change your panty liner at least every four hours.
Playing Down Heavy Periods
Treating the Wrong Infection
Applying Talcum Powder
If you’re prone to sweating down there, we recommend wearing cotton underwear and changing them often, avoiding tight-fitting pants, and going commando at night (to give the area a chance to breathe).
Not Using Birth Control
If you’ve skipped a period or two and have what seem to be hot flashes, you may think you can no longer get pregnant because you’re starting to enter menopause. But you’re wrong. “As long as you’re having periods of any kind, no matter how irregular they are, there is always a chance of becoming pregnant. In fact, an analysis by the Pew Research Center found that in 2008, 14 percent of births were to women age 35 and older (compared to 10 percent of births to teen moms). More than half of all pregnancies in women over age 40 are unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health research organization. So don’t toss out birth control unless you’re okay with getting pregnant. “You’re not safe until it’s been at least a year since your last menstrual period
Putting Sex on the Back Burner
Not Seeing Your Doctor Enough
But that doesn’t mean you can skip your annual checkup. Your gynecologist still needs to see you once a year — and the clinical breast exam and bimanual pelvic exam she’ll perform can help detect serious health issues like cancer, ovarian cysts, and fibroids. It’s also a great opportunity to get advice on anything from hot flashes to birth control to your sex drive.
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