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Can female genital problems be prevented?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Depending on their cause, female genital problems may cause a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from itching to swelling to unusual discharge. Pain around the vulva may occur due to infection, irritation or injury. Pelvic pain may be a sign of a serious infection or a problem that has spread to the reproductive system.

Some female genital problems can be serious, especially if they're left untreated. Most of the time, genital problems caused by things like yeast infections, bacterial infections and even sexually transmitted diseases are very treatable and won't cause permanent damage as long as they're diagnosed and treated. Because of this, it's important to talk to your doctor if you notice any unusual symptoms so that you can reduce the risk of your genital problems becoming serious.

There are several ways you may help prevent female genital problems. Since many problems are caused by sexual activity, it's a good idea to practice safe sex by using a condom every time and limiting your number of sex partners. Also, women shouldn't douche or apply other strong chemicals (including soaps, sprays, perfumes or lotions) to their vulva or vagina. These chemicals may interfere with the bacteria naturally found in your vagina, which may increase your risk for infection. Wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing may also reduce your risk for developing an infection. All women and girls should practice good hygiene by keeping the genital area clean and dry to reduce their risk for genital problems. Make sure you also get regular Pap tests and gynecologic exams to reduce your risk of leaving a serious problem undiagnosed and untreated.

In some cases, genital problems may be caused by cancer or genetic conditions, which may run in families. If you know that risk factors for cancer or other genetic conditions run in your family, talk to your doctor about the possibility of regular screenings for these problems.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.