6 Vaginal Health Myths: The Importance of Vaginal Health Maintenance by Dr. Alyssa Dweck

Face it ladies—if your vagina is unhappy, you’re likely in for a difficult time. Vaginal health is vital for our general wellbeing, not to mention our sexual health. Great news! The vagina is like a self-cleaning oven and has the potential to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast in most cases. This delicate pH balance can be enhanced with healthy diet, lifestyle habits and attention to detail when it comes to intimate hygiene. Our women’s health expert, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is here to bust some common vaginal health myths and provide the solid facts!ª

  1. Myth 1: “The vagina requires vigorous scrubbing and washing.”
    The vagina has natural self-cleansing mechanisms. Vigorous cleaning with highly fragrant or chemical-laden products is generally not needed. For those prone to yeast infections, a warm bath with plain, non-fragrant Epsom salt or oatmeal colloid is beneficial for itching or irritation of the vulva and vagina. After bathing, consider drying off using a blow dryer on a cool, low setting to aid in avoiding infection
  2. Myth 2: “All vaginal discharge is a yeast infection.”
    Not all vaginal discharge means that you have a yeast infection. Vaginal yeast infections are typically characterized by itching, a thick white discharge and the absence of a foul odor. In general, most women have vaginal secretions, but the amount and consistency varies from person to person and can be impacted by the menstrual cycle and medications. Vaginal secretions that are unrelated to an infection can include cervical mucus produced around ovulation, a clear exudate produced by healthy vaginal tissue and physiologic secretions produced by glands in and around the vagina.
  3. Myth 3: “Personal lubricants are all the same.”
    Be mindful of personal lubricants with harsh chemical ingredients. Vaginal lubricants with petroleum jelly or certain spermicides may lead to vaginal irritation and infection. If you are prone to yeast infections, avoid lubricants containing glycerin.
  4. Myth 4: “Clothing choice does not impact vaginal health.”
    Yeast and bacteria thrive in dark, moist places, so avoiding certain types of clothing or products that reduce airflow and allowing the area to “breathe” can be beneficial. Avoid wearing confining pantyhose, non-cotton crotched panties, or 24/7 pad and pantiliner usage. Also, make sure to change out of wet bathing suits and gym clothes pronto for optimal vulvovaginal health.
  5. Myth 5: “The saying ‘you are what you eat’ does not apply to your vagina.”
    If you are prone to yeast infections, make it a point to lower the amount of sugar and alcohol in your diet. Also consider taking a probiotic that has been shown to help maintain a healthy vaginal pH.
  6. Myth 6: “Yeast infections are not worth a trip to the doctor.”
    Regardless of whether it is the first time you are experiencing symptoms or if you get them often, it is important to check in with your gynecologist to confirm whether or not you have a yeast infection (and also to rule out other health concerns). For symptom relief, consider using AZO Yeast® Plus, a helpful lactose-free, multi-benefit homeopathic formula which can help to alleviate the itching and burning symptoms associated with vaginal yeast infections.* Although AZO Yeast® Plus is not a cure, it provides yeast infection symptom relief from the occasional odor and discharge associated with such.*

A majority of women will experience at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime and many will have repeat infections. Knowledge is key to helping to maintain vaginal health.


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. The newly released “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,” tells women of all ages what they need to know about their own unique health as a woman.

ª Dr. Dweck is a paid spokeswoman for AZO. The information provided herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as medical advice or to replace professional medical care. You should always seek the advice of a medical professional before starting any new medication or dietary supplement. The opinions stated herein are those solely of the writer and do not portray the opinions of the AZO brand, i-Health, Inc., or DSM.