1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

12 Ways to Prevent Abnormal Vaginal Discharge and Infection

By

Updated April 10, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Many factors can play a role in the occurrence of vaginal infections and discharge. What can you do to reduce your risk of vaginal infections? Practicing these simple tips significantly reduces your risk of getting a vaginal infection:
  1. Always wear cotton panties. Cotton allows your genital area to breathe, helping it stay dry. It's also a good idea to wear panties only during the day and not at night when you are sleeping.
  2. Don't use vaginal douches.
  3. Never use petroleum jelly or oils for vaginal lubrication. This can create a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.
  4. If you are being treated for a vaginal infection, use all the medication as directed, even if you think you are better.
  5. Don't have sexual intercourse during treatment for a vaginal infection. Wait until you have no more symptoms.
  6. Avoid vaginal contact with products that can irritate the vagina, such as feminine hygiene products, perfumed or deodorant soaps, powders, lotions, and bubble baths.
  7. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing, such as bathing suits, exercise wear, or pantyhose, for prolonged periods of time.
  8. Many times, vaginal infections cause intense itching - don't scratch! Scratching infected, inflamed areas will only make things worse.
  9. If your period starts while you are using vaginal creams or suppositories, continue your regular medication schedule during your period, and don't use tampons - use pads instead.
  10. If you are self-treating a vaginal infection and your symptoms have not improved after treatment, see your health care provider for a vaginal exam. Don't use any vaginal products or treatments for 48 hours before your appointment.
  11. Always use condoms during sexual intercourse unless you are in a long-term monogamous relationship.
  12. Always wipe from front to back after urination or having a bowel movement. Improper wiping easily spreads bacteria to the vagina and may lead to vaginal discharge and infection.

Of course, good basic hygiene, getting plenty of sleep, and a well-rounded diet with an appropriate fluid intake are always a good idea for vaginal health, as well as for your overall health and well-being.

Source:

Vaginitis. Womenshealth.gov. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/vaginitis.cfm. Accessed 08/21/2009.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Women's Health
  4. Female Reproductive Health
  5. GYN Diseases and Conditions
  6. Vaginal Health
  7. Vaginal Discharge
  8. Abnormal Vaginal Discharge - 12 Ways to Prevent Abnormal Vaginal Discharge and Infections

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.