The material provided below is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. You should always seek medical advice before consuming any new medicines or supplements. AZO products referenced on this website are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, or vaginal infections.
The vagina is like a self-cleaning oven. It has incredible mechanisms in place to keep itself neat and tidy. This phenomenon occurs through maintenance of the vaginal microbiome. Similar to the gut, the vaginal microbiome is a collection of microorganisms including helpful bacteria and fungi that dwell in the vagina. A healthy vaginal microbiome supports vaginal health, which often reduces the risk of infection, resulting in freedom from discomfort and symptoms including foul smelling discharge, itching, burning, irritation and inflammation.
So how does a microbiome remain intact? In the case of the vagina, “good bacteria” called lactobacilli naturally exist in the vagina. Lactobacilli produce hydrogen peroxide, which keeps the pH of the vagina in the “acidic” range (lower than 4.5pH).1 This acidic environment prevents overgrowth of non-beneficial bacteria (predominantly anaerobes or bacteria that grow without air), which can result in foul smelling “fishy” vaginal discharge or itching.
Sexual activity (particularly with multiple sexual partners), douching, smoking, antibiotic use and external irritants including heavily fragrant and chemically laden hygiene products are common disruptors of the vaginal microbiome.
ABOUT DR. ALYSSA DWECK:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck is a practicing OB-GYN in Westchester County, NY. She has been voted Top Doctor in New York Magazine and Westchester County. She is proficient in gynecologic surgery, has expertise in female sexual health and provides gynecologic care to women of all ages. Dr. Dweck has co-authored three books, including The Complete A to Z for Your V: A Women's Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Vagina—Health, Pleasure, Hormones, and More, which tells women of all ages what they need to know about their own unique health.
^ Dr. Alyssa Dweck is a paid spokesperson for AZO®.