How To Keep A Healthy Vagina, And Find Sexual Pleasure, In Your 20s, 30s, 40s, And 50s?
The vagina is one of the organs which is most sensitive in the female body and plays an important role. The vagina helps in fulfilling the physiological needs of the woman and in reproductive functions. However, over time the vagina cannot be kept in its original position due to the effects of the aging process. There are many changes in it, whether it is the color of the vagina, changes in other parts of the vagina, or other things. It naturally faces changes with age. Changes start from adolescence, menopause, and many changes occur till the age of 70, or 80, and then the challenges of keeping healthy also increase. So how to keep the vagina healthy and looking good at any age?
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How Does A Woman's Vagina Change, How Can We Take Care of It, And What Are The Things We Need To Know?
Just like every part and everything in your body change with age, your vagina also undergoes certain changes. While natural changes in pelvic floor muscle strength and vulvar skin thickness, and labia, don't happen overnight, being aware of when and what happens can help you feel those changes, and be more prepared for them. We consulted a wealth of women's health experts and trusted resources to arm you with the wisdom of how your vagina changes through the ages and throughout your lifetime. And what can you do to keep your vagina in great shape and healthy? Whether you're 18 or 70, you're thinking about pubic hair or pregnancy, here's a decade-by-decade guide tailored with your vagina in mind.
How Your Vagina Changes In Your Late 20s and 30s
In your late 20s and 30s, the hormones estrogen and progesterone act strongly and shift through your body's adaptations. As a result, you may naturally experience changes in your vagina, such as your vagina producing more discharge due to estrogen.
Most women experience their first pregnancy in their 20s to 30s, eg; It also commonly affects how the vagina feels and looks. And then after pregnancy and during breastfeeding, fluctuations in the hormone estrogen can cause vaginal dryness along with other changes.
Although changes in estrogen are usually temporary, they can cause other changes, including your vagina feeling dry, and you may experience painful sex as a result. On the other hand, even if you are trying to prevent pregnancy at this age, vaginal dryness may be accompanied by other changes. Pregnancy can stretch and weaken the pelvic floor muscles that support organs such as your bladder, bowel, fallopian tubes, and uterus. At the same time, the muscles of the pelvic floor are also affected during vaginal birth. After this, many people find that their vagina is a little more open or a little looser during sex, which is mainly known as vaginal laxity.
However, unless you had a severe tear or incision in the vagina during childbirth, the vagina usually returns to its original shape.
How Does Your Vagina Change In Your 40s And 50s?
During your late 40s and 50s, your body begins to produce less estrogen and other hormones as you enter perimenopause, which is the transitional period before menopause. On average, U.S. Most women in the U.S. enter menopause around the ages of 45 to 52. Although low estrogen is most common in the 40s, it can happen later for some women. It is often seen that women who have sex regularly till the age of 50 or more have a balance of other sex hormones with estrogen, even menopause occurs late in these women. Mainly estrogen keeps the vaginal collagen thick and moist and helps in providing good blood flow to the vaginal area.
However, decreased levels of the hormone estrogen during perimenopause can cause vaginal tissue to become thinner and less elastic. With this, your vagina may produce less lubrication and feel dry, sore and irritated, especially when you are having sex. Once you enter the stage of menopause and your monthly periods officially stop, you may experience more dryness in your vagina and thinning of the vaginal tissue, which is medically known as vulvovaginal atrophy.
You may also notice many changes in the overall appearance of your vulva after menopause. Your clitoris may shrink and your labia may become thinner or thicker, darker in color, and may also feel loose. A decrease in collagen in general can contribute to sagging skin throughout your body, including your vulva, and weak pelvic floor muscles. Changes in your vaginal bacteria can also occur in your 50s, which can increase your risk of infections such as bacterial vaginosis. So if you experience itching or foul-smelling discharge in your vagina after menopause, chances are you have a vaginal infection that needs to be treated.
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How To Take Care Of Vagina In the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s?
It is well known that with different stages of age, there can be a lot of changes in your vagina, and when you feel these changes, you are worried at times. Although this change is normal, sometimes the conditions can be serious and delicate, so you need to take special care of your vagina with these changes.
So let us know how you will take care of your vagina at different stages of age:
1. Vaginal Care In The 20s
The 20s is the time when a woman's vagina is at its best because of the highest levels of sex hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Specifically, for women, estrogen is a hormone that plays an important role in keeping the vagina lubricated, elastic, and acidic, making sex more comfortable and preventing infection.
Your vagina is surrounded by two folds of skin called the labia minora (the inner lips of the vagina) and the labia majora (the outer lips of the vagina). The labia majora have a thick layer of fatty tissue, and in the 20s the labia majora are usually full. While the labia minora are usually thinner, lighter in color, and located inside the labia majora. This is the stage of age when the sex drive is at its highest level. People who have frequent sex during this time are more susceptible to urinary tract infections because bacteria move from the vagina to the urethra during this time. So, to reduce this risk, urinate right after sex to flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract.
Your vagina cleans itself and also contains good bacteria, your vagina produces a milky or clear discharge, also known as discharge or vaginal discharge, to clean itself. However, hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle will cause some changes in the vagina, therefore, to keep the vagina healthy in your 20s, it is better to clean it daily with a mild cleansing solution or water. However, if you are experiencing symptoms such as pain, itching, odor, or burning sensation during sex, special care is needed, and sometimes consultation with a medical specialist may be required.
2. Vagina Care In the 30s
Hormonal changes in the body in the 30s can cause the inner lips (labia minora) to darken, while excessive sweating or friction during sex can also cause discoloration. Vaginal discharge increases during pregnancy and may be slightly foul-smelling with a milky discharge, however, if the discharge is yellow, green, or has a rotten fish-like odor, it is a sign that there is an abnormal vaginal problem.
The vagina will stretch after childbirth and lose elasticity with increasing age, although most of the vagina will return to a size and position close to pre-pregnancy, but may not fully revert. To keep your vagina healthy, trying postpartum exercises such as Kegel exercises will help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and restore a firm, healthy, and elastic condition to the vagina.
Taking oral contraceptives can also cause vaginal changes such as increased white discharge, bleeding, and dryness. And will experience that these symptoms usually go away on their own when you stop taking such medicine, but if they still persist then you must visit your gynecologist.
3. Vaginal Care At Age 40
The average age of women in their 40s is perimenopause, the period before menstruation completely stops, so many significant changes occur in the vagina at this age. As the level of estrogen in the body decreases, the vaginal wall becomes thin and dry. This is also commonly known as vaginal atrophy and can lead to several problems, such as a burning sensation, painful intercourse, vaginal discharge, dryness, etc., etc.
Regular sex in your 40s will increase blood flow to the vagina and keep it elastic. In addition to slowing vaginal atrophy, vaginal gels or moisturizers, or topical estrogen also work to combat vaginal dryness or itching. Currently, there are many different forms of estrogen on the market, such as tablets, gels, sprays, vaginal rings, and patches.
4. Vagina Care In the 50s
The age of 50 is very special for women, and by this age, on average almost all women have gone through menopause, and estrogen levels become very low or non-existent. Usually, the vagina will shrink and become wrinkled when viewed from the front, vaginal atrophy is a common problem in women over the age of 50. And low estrogen levels greatly affect not only the vagina but also the urinary tract. At this age, vaginal atrophy can occur in the urethra, causing urine leakage and overactive bladder, increased frequency of urination, frequent urge to urinate, and incontinence of urine.
Hormone therapy is the most effective and main way to keep the vagina healthy, taking vaginal pills will significantly improve the symptoms of vaginal atrophy and urinary tract atrophy. However, it is also important to note that not everyone is suitable for hormone therapy and other measures may need to be taken. Such as bladder training exercises can use a vaginal dilator to improve elasticity, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, keep weight under control, and reduce or eliminate caffeinated foods. Also, don't smoke, do Kegel exercises and other pelvic floor muscle exercises to balance and strengthen pelvic floor muscles, use vaginal lubricants, and can also use vaginal moisturizer.
Postmenopausal women are also at increased risk of severe vaginal changes, especially in women who have given birth vaginally, and more so in those who have given birth to more than one child. Vaginal prolapse is usually a problem that occurs when part or all of the vagina slips down through the entrance to the vagina. Vaginal prolapse can also affect other organs such as the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Signs of vaginal prolapse include a feeling of pressure in the pelvic floor, vaginal discomfort, cramping, and lower back pain experienced when sitting or standing. However, there is a cure, and treatment for vaginal prolapse includes a cervical lift to maintain the prolapsed vaginal area, a regular combination of pelvic floor muscle exercises, and ultimately surgery for the prolapsed vagina.
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From adolescence to 50, 60, 70, and beyond, as you age, you will experience various vaginal changes like more discharge in your 20s and 30s and changes in vaginal color. Similarly in your 40s and onwards, you experience less elasticity in vaginal tissues, vaginal dryness, foul odor, foul discharge, hormonal changes, and many more. Similarly, having menopause at the age of 50s wrinkles, dryness, thinning, sagging, etc., etc. in the tissues of the outer and inner lips of the vagina (labia majora and labia minora) when your menstruation will stop completely.
Although there are treatments for all, if the problems are old then a gynecologist or a sex therapist can help. Along with this, there are other ways to help you keep your vagina healthy, such as doing Kegel exercises, using plenty of lube or vaginal moisturizer, having regular sex, and so on. If you are experiencing any concerns or issues regarding your vaginal health, consulting a healthcare provider without delay may yield the best results.