Although most of us know our vaginal health is important, we may not spend as much time thinking about it as we do other aspects of our bodies. It's clear that habits like sexual activity and hygiene habits can have an impact, but there are a number of other unexpected things that can cause feminine health changes. Paying attention to what can affect your vaginal health can help you stay away from issues such as infections, STIs, and uncomfortable skin issues.
"As a gynecologist, I can tell you that the vagina is one of the most impressive organs in the human body," OB/GYN Dr. Shannon Klingman tells Bustle. "Healthy and unhealthy bacteria both exist in the vagina. The good bacteria prevail the vast majority of the time. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ and tolerates the effects of intercourse and semen, periods and menstrual blood, as well as menopause and pH changes that go along with that. With all that wonder being said, there are times when the vagina is more vulnerable to a disruption of its ... balance."
Despite the vagina's resilience, it can still be affected by outside factors. Here are 11 unexpected things that can affect your vaginal health, according to OB/GYNs.