There is no better time to make a positive change in your health than the New Year. But when you talk about caring for your body, you don't always think of your vagina. Are you treating your lady part with the care it deserves? As it turns out, probably not, and you might not even realise it. Caring for your vagina is vital as practising good vaginal health would mean fewer UTIs, yeast infections and better sex. So this New Year, make sure you do these things to keep everything happy and healthy down there.

1. Keep Your Pubic Hair, Don't Shave.

Pubic hairs are not unwanted. They provide a natural barrier to decrease contact with undesirable bacteria and virus. So if you are shaving your pubic hair, you are putting yourself at high risk of contracting yeast infections and venereal diseases such as genital warts. Removing pubic hair also inflames the hair follicles, leaving microscopic wound behind. Do whatever that makes you comfortable, but when it comes to your vagina do more than just the aesthetics. From Vaginal Steaming To Waxing, 6 Things You Should Never Do To your Vagina.

2. Change Your Pads Regularly During Periods

It would be best if you changed your pad or tampon every four to six hours or when blood saturated your pad. Leaving the pad for more than eight hours in the vagina increases the risk of TSS or toxic shock syndrome caused by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. However, always ensure that you use a pad or a tampon with the right absorbency. Multiple Orgasms in Women: What Happens to Your Vagina and the Rest of Your Body While You Orgasm? Here’s Everything You Want to Know

3. Don't Ignore Any Abnormal Vaginal Symptoms

Spotting between periods is a common side effect of a contraceptive pill. But stress, injury, vaginal dryness or something more severe like an STI or cervical cancer can make you spot between periods. So check immediately with your doctor if you notice spotting between periods or any sudden change in discharge as it may indicate an infection. Any change in colour, consistency, or smell in the release can all indicate an infection.

4. Seek Help for Acute Period Pain

If you experience severe period pain that lasts for one to two days each month, contact your gynaecologist immediately. Get yourself treated as debilitating pain can affect the quality of your everyday life. There are several treatment options out there to alleviate the pain. From Garlic to Herb ‘Sticks!’ Things You Should Never Put into Your Vagina

5. Avoid Douching

Whoever told you that you need scented soaps and feminine hygiene products to keep your vagina clean, they were wrong. The vagina contains good bacteria, and designed to protect itself from natural secretions. Disturbing the good bacteria in the vagina can lead to thrush and inflammation. So avoid perfumed gels, soaps or antiseptics to maintain healthy levels of pH and bacteria in the vagina.

6. Exercise Your Vagina

As you age, the pelvic floor muscles that hold your uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder weaken. Doing regular pelvic floor exercises can help improve the muscle tone, bladder and bowel control. If you are planning to make a baby, now is an excellent time to start doing pelvic floor exercises as it can prevent incontinence after childbirth.

And most importantly, do everything you can to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections. Most STIs do not show any immediate symptoms, so if you had unprotected sex and still feel fine, it is worth getting tested.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 24, 2019 01:20 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website