We spoke to Dr Kofi Kwaw-Asante, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Life Fourways Hospital, to find out what are some of the things you should look out for in order to keep a healthy and clean vagina. It’s all about the look, smell and feel.
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Dr Kwaw-Asante recommends that you look at your vagina more often to have an idea of what is normal and what is not. “The presence of any lesions, growths, sores swelling or even discolouration in or around the vagina should be a cause for concern. These lesions may or may not be painful,” he says.
He also advises to look out for genital warts that are usually caused by Human Papilloma Virus. “The presence of large amounts of discharge that is blood-stained, green or off-white is a cause for concern,” he says.
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The smell of a vagina is usually one of the first signs that tell you that something is wrong, says Dr Kwaw-Asante. “Whilst poor hygiene and vaginal care may be a cause, a bad vaginal odour usually indicates the presence of an infection.” He adds that the normal discharge of a vagina should be odourless and colourless.
“The presence of any of the above symptoms should necessitate a visit to the gynaecologist to be examined in order to treat any abnormalities,” Dr Kwaw-Asante points out.
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Persistent itchiness in and around the vagina is not normal. Dr Kwaw-Asante emphasises that this may be the first sign of a vaginal infection. “It’s important to feel for raised areas of skin or bumps and swellings in and around the vagina. In addition, pain in and around the vagina must be investigated. It’s just as important to note that pain during intercourse is also a symptom that needs to be investigated and may have several causes,” he concludes.