As we age, new problems crop up with our health that we are often unprepared for. This can be especially true with parts of the body that are taboo, or aren’t easily discussed. However, it’s risky and potentially dangerous to keep the health of our sexual organs swept under the rug.
While it’s perfectly normal for there to be changes in how our body looks and operates as we get older, some changes aren’t ideal and they ought to be addressed. Sex, pregnancy, use of birth control pills, lifestyle choice and changing hormone levels will all have an impact on your health ‘down there’. Here we run through the ways to maintain the best feminine hygiene at all ages, to keep you healthy, happy and fertile.
How to Take Care of Feminine Health At Different Stages of Life
In Your 20’s
Given that the average US woman gives birth to her first child at the age of 26, doctors recommend that taking care of your vagina ought to start when you’re in your 20’s. Before you conceive, your pelvic floor is in its prime condition, and luckily, women usually don’t have feminine issues at this age. However, how you take care of this body part now will play a big part in its future state.
What Should You Do?
At this age, it pays to be extra careful about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and experts strongly recommend that you use condoms or other proven methods to prevent the chance of contracting anything harmful. When it comes to maintaining hygiene, doctors recommend that you do not use products that are artificially-scented. Instead, use a natural and effective female hygiene product that will keep you clean without compromising your health.
In Your 30’s
While you mightn’t notice any difference in your libido at this age, you will likely start to notice some changes on your pelvic floor after 30. Women often note reduced pelvic floor strength and elasticity during this decade, and the condition of the pelvic muscle has an impact on your uterus, bladder, and bowel. If this is the case, you may have issues like perimenopause, changes in bowel movement, urinary incontinence, and even prolapse.
And if you’ve been through childbirth, temporary menopause after childbirth and during breastfeeding is also not uncommon. In terms of child birth itself, doctors warn that if you have a natural birth in your 30’s, it will take longer for your vagina to heal as compared to your 20’s. Ouch.
What Should You Do?
Experts suggest that doing Kegels exercise, particularly before and after childbirth, are a crucial exercise for every woman in their 30’s. Kegels exercises help train the pelvic floor muscles to contract and release effectively. Practising Kegels can also protect your vagina from damage during delivery, assist in postpartum muscle retraining, and reduce the chance of prolapse and bladder issues. Also, experts suggest that trying mindfulness exercises, such as yoga and meditation can improve your sex life at this stage.
In Your 40’s
Entering your 40’s often means the onset of new physical issues, starting from your bone health to your private parts, for many women. Given that most women experience menopause between the age of 45 and 55, you’re likely to encounter perimenopause from 40 onwards. At this stage, your estrogen level will slowly decrease, causing symptoms like vaginal dryness, irregular periods, and hot flashes.
Although the ratio is low, some women give birth to a child vaginally in their 40’s. While it’s not impossible, unfortunately the recovery time for your private parts to heal is likely to increase.
What Should You Do?
With the onset of the years, so unfortunately is the likelihood of dryness ‘down there’. The lost lubrication can make sex less enjoyable and even difficult after 40. To avoid missing out, sex experts advise to get into the habit of engaging in more foreplay before sexual intercourse, and also using lubricants. It’s also a good time to experiment with some new positions that could be easier on the body and muscles!
Once you begin to start experiencing symptoms of menopause, it’s time to consult with a doctor, along with your partner. It’s also advised to consult your doctor or gynecologist before you start to take any medicines or probiotics at this age.
In Your 50’s
If you’re in your 50’s, you’ve probably gathered a lot of knowledge about how to maintain your feminine hygiene already. However, some unwelcome surprises may await…
It’s during their 40’s that most women experience the first signs of menopause, and this comes into full swing a few years later. Physically, due to a decrease in estrogen levels, your vagina, vulva, and cervix will become smaller. Additionally, you may experience pain and bleeding during sexual intercourse as your vaginal tissue becomes fragile, thin, and poorly lubricated. Lastly, as your estrogen levels drop, your risk of getting urinary tract infections (UTIs) increases.
What Should You Do?
At this stage, the body has undergone massive change, and one of the best approaches is to try and go with it as best as you can. Whether that means always bringing lubricants into the bedroom, or simply addressing things like urinary tract infections as soon as they crop up, there’s little point fighting your body at this point.
As always, for more serious complications such as bladder and bowel issues, prolapse, it’s essential that that you consult a doctor ASAP. Take comfort in the knowledge that there are several options, such as physical therapy, vaginal estrogen, and surgery, to deal with these issues.
While it can be awkward and uncomfortable to talk about, feminine health is a serious issue for most women. Starting from puberty, and reaching into menopause, you will almost certainly experience one issue or another down there throughout your lifetime.
While some of these issues are minor, others have the ability to make your life miserable. It’s important to recognise that any mistakes you might have made in your early 20’s can have adverse effects in your 50’s. That’s why you need to maintain the correct feminine hygiene as early as possible.