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Vagina, Are You OK Down There?

As a practicing ob/gyn for nearly two decades, I’ve seen a lot of strange things, and truly nothing shocks or surprises me anymore. That’s why I was delighted to be quoted in an article in February’s Cosmopolitan magazine entitled, “When Your Vagina Does Something Weird.”  Cosmopolitan February 2012

So, just what is “weird”? Well, for example, in the Cosmo article, I discussed how if you are particularly sensitive “down there” toilet paper can trigger an allergic reaction in your V zone, leaving the area red, chafed, and killer itchy. As long as there’s no thick discharge or odor (which might be a sign of an infection), your ChaCha is probably making contact with something that rubs it the wrong way, literally –even your toilet paper! As I told Cosmo, “The tricky part is, there isn’t one specific ingredient to avoid…It takes a little trial and error to find out what kind of toilet paper might be irritating your skin.”

 

There’s also the issue of peeing after sneezing, coughing or working out… As I discussed in the article:

“Stress incontinence, the medical term for it, can happen to younger women, and it simply means that your muscles responsible for bladder control are a little slack. So when your bladder is full or getting close to it, any sudden reflex – like a cough or strain from lifting weights – can cause you to loose control and release urine.”

My advice? Do Kegel exercises – tighten your muscles as if you you’re trying to stop your urine stream, hold for five seconds, then release, and repeat 20 to 40 times a day.  Avoid caffeine, which can increase the urge to go and urinate by the clock, so your bladder doesn’t get too full.  Then, you are less likely to leak when you cough or sneeze.

 

Another unusual condition “down there” is called a Bartholins Cyst. In my book, V is for Vagina, I point out, “Bartholin’s cysts are collections of fluid usually between the size of a pea and a golf ball that can cause pain during sex and even when you’re just walking or sitting.”  The good news is that these cysts often don’t need treatment and sometimes they will drain spontaneously while taking baths or using warm soaks. If not, your gyno can drain them for you.