The human body changes and adapts with age. Estrogen, a female hormone, drives many changes throughout women’s life cycle.
Vagina is the most precious institution that makes women feminine. It is not only part of the reproductive organs; it is a companion that governs a woman's life. This is why women care about the health of the vagina and need to take care of it. Then, let's find out how to manage and change the quality of each generation.
■ The 20s: healthy and beautiful time
This period is when the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are released most vigorously. Estrogen, a female hormone, provides shine to the vagina and helps maintain elasticity and acidity. So, the vagina is at their healthiest at this time.
Your vagina is surrounded by walls of skin known as the labia minora and labia majora and outer part of labia consist of fat tissue.
The healthy vaginal mucosa’s recovery is fast, and the self-purification is active. It does not cause any special troubles because it has its own cleaning function. The secretions are clean, and they do not smell. However, changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle can affect secretions but it is normal and common.
There are no major problems unless symptoms such as discomfort during sex, pain, itching, excessive discharge is present.
However, in case of have unhygienic sex, you may experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) with bacteria that invades the vagina to the urethra. To minimize your risk of a UTI, you should remove all traces of bad bacteria from your vagina as soon as possible after unhygienic sex. You need to create the sub-acidic environment where good bacteria can live, preventing infections due to bad bacteria.
■ The 30s: pregnancy and childbirth
In the 30s, hormonal changes can result in dark labia on vulva. In addition, when you become pregnant, vaginal discharge increases and may appear milky white. If it’s normal, it may smell a little, but it's not unpleasant. However, if the discharge is green or yellow, or if it smells bad, then there is a problem.
After giving birth, the vagina may lose elasticity. But over time, most women's vagina returns to its pre-birth condition to some extent. Therefore, at this time, it is beneficial to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles through the Kegel exercise and restore strength to the vagina.
Women who take oral contraceptives to avoid pregnancy may experience increased vaginal discharge or changes such as vaginal dryness and sometimes bleeding. These symptoms usually improve on their own. However, if these symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor. For your own health, you should be careful in choosing and using oral contraceptives.
■ The 40s: The period preparing for menopause
Women's menopause is the period of greatest physiological change in their life cycle. Menopause symptoms appear in various forms; for example, estrogen slowly decreases with age. Until the menstruation stops, these changes affect vaginal health in your 40s. As estrogen levels decrease, the vaginal walls usually become thin and dry. For this reason, some problems can occur such as vaginal atrophy and/or loss of pubic hair. Many studies say regular sex can help prevent this vaginal atrophy. Also, vaginal moisturizer like wettrust VM can prevent vaginal dryness.
■ The 50s: Health after menopause
Menstruation has stopped and estrogen levels are significantly lower or depleted. The vulva may appear to be shrunk and contracted. Vaginal atrophy is common problem for women in their 50s. Low estrogen may cause the increase in vaginal acidity and lead to the risk of infection from the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Also, due to low estrogen, atrophy may occur in the urethra, leaking urine, irritable bladder, or frequent urine.
Postmenopausal women are at risk of uterovaginal prolapse (hysterocele) which often occurs with the bladder or other organs, such as the rectum and uterus. Symptoms include pain in the vagina, severe discomfort in the pelvis, and low back pain.
Treatment for vaginal prolapse involves insertion of a support device that returns the escaped organ in place, and surgery if needed. But most of all, in order to prevent this serious problem, it will be important to maintain vaginal health care through constant use of vaginal moisturizers to prevent vaginal atrophy.