Female Intimate Health: Breaking the taboo - Understanding and Preventing Infections

Women's intimate health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, yet it often remains shrouded in silence. Embarrassment around this topic can cause misinformation, risky home remedies and reluctance to seek help. Given that the majority of women will suffer with some kind of vaginal infection during their lifetime, there’s no need to feel ashamed when looking for information or guidance.

Understanding the various challenges women face, such as viral infections from unprotected sex, urinary tract infections (UTIs), bacterial vaginosis (BV), and thrush, is the first step towards promoting a healthier and more informed approach to intimate health.

A woman’s intimate flora is a delicate balance, with the ideal PH being between 3.8 and 4.5. When this range is maintained, the vagina is its own amazing eco system able to fight off infection, keep clean and function well.  

However, there are many things that can upset the environment and cause unwanted symptoms, from infections, to romantic encounters, to diet and the wrong choice of underwear!

Unprotected Sex and Viral Infections:

Unprotected sex exposes both men and women to the risk of viral infections, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HIV. The causes of these infections vary, but they often result from engaging in sexual activity without proper protection, emphasizing the importance of safe sex practices.

Prevention and lifestyle changes:

Condom Use: Consistent and correct use of condoms is one of the most effective ways to protect against STIs. Encouraging open communication with sexual partners about safe sex practices is essential for maintaining intimate health.

Regular STI Testing: Routine screening for STIs is crucial, especially in the absence of visible symptoms. Early detection allows for prompt treatment and minimises the risk of complications. Nowadays, it is even possible to order a postal test online if you can’t get to the Clinic.

Vaccinations: HPV vaccines can provide protection against certain strains of the virus responsible for cervical cancer. Consult with a healthcare professional to explore this option.


Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):

UTIs are common, affecting millions of women worldwide. These infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract, causing discomfort and, if left untreated, potentially leading to more severe complications such as kidney infections.

Causes and preventive measures:

Hydration: Adequate water intake helps flush bacteria out of the urinary tract. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily to support urinary health.

Urination after Sex: It might be the last thing on your mind, but emptying the bladder after sexual activity can help flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra during intercourse.

Cranberry Products: Incorporating cranberry juice or supplements into your diet may help prevent UTIs by preventing bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary


Bacterial Vaginosis (BV):

BV is a common vaginal infection caused by an imbalance in the natural bacteria of the vagina. Symptoms can include unpleasant discharge and odour. While the exact cause is not always clear, certain factors, such as douching or having a new sexual partner, may increase the risk.

Maintaining balance and preventing BV:

Probiotics: Probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt and fermented products, can promote the growth of healthy lactobacilli in the vaginal microbiome. Try natural yoghurt, kimchee, kefir and kombucha.

Avoiding Douching: Douching disrupts the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina and can increase the risk of BV. Opt for gentle, pH-balanced intimate washes, rather than scented or coloured products.

Safe Sex Practices: Consistent condom use, and communication with sexual partners can reduce the risk of BV as semen is thought to be a trigger for many women.

Some lubricant products are also thought to trigger BV. Water based products may sound harmless but with a PH of around 7, they are not conducive to a healthy environment which should stay at the more acidic range of 3.8 – 4.5.


Health care professionals may also prescribe antibiotics to cure BV.



Thrush, or vaginal yeast infection, is caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus. It often occurs when there is an imbalance in the vaginal environment, leading to symptoms like itching, redness, and discharge.

Maintaining a healthy vaginal environment:

Proper Hygiene: Keep the genital area clean and dry, avoiding harsh soaps or scented products that may disrupt the natural balance.

Cotton Underwear: Wearing breathable cotton underwear can help prevent the build-up of moisture, creating an environment less conducive to yeast overgrowth.

Limiting Sugar Intake: Yeast thrives on sugar, so reducing sugar intake in the diet can help prevent and manage thrush.

Many of these intimate health issues are liable to recur if the cause is not dealt with. Some women struggle with recurrent thrush, BV and UTIs for many years despite courses of treatment. It can be frustrating but if this sounds like you, please don’t resort to risky home remedies or old wives tales!

It's vitally important to seek medical help as some of these issues can worsen or lead to other complications further down the line if left untreated.

To prevent recurrence, and support a healthy intimate environment, we may need to take a closer look at your diet and lifestyle. Nobody wants to rely on regularly using strong antibiotics or medications if it can be avoided.

We offer discreet, personalised consultations and treatment plans at Widney House Clinic. We encourage you to get in touch if you think we could help solve any intimate issues which have been troubling you.




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