Gina Florio
February 05, 2016 5:28 pm
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You deserve a happy vagina. You might be thinking, You weirdo, my vagina doesn’t have feelings. Ok, she may not have feelings, per se, but her health definitely depends on what your overall emotions are like, believe it or not.

For example, you probably didn’t know that vaginal discomfort can be a side effect of chronic anxiety or stress.

Many women don’t even know this connection exists, so they go through life thinking that strange changes in vaginal discharge, discoloration, and infections are just happening for no reason — or, worse, because they’re doing something wrong.

Well, here’s how it works: When you’re stressed or anxious, the body produces a whole heap of chemicals in response, such as adrenaline and cortisol. They course through the body, maybe making you sweat more than usual, maybe disrupting your ability to go the bathroom regularly. Those chemicals also have the ability to affect the balance of hormones in your body, as well as the balance of bacteria in your lady parts.

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As a result, you may find odd discharge in your panties. Perhaps the discharge has changed in texture and color since the last time it said hello, or it’s coming out in larger amounts. This could be a result of change in diet as well. Whatever it is, call in to speak with your OBGYN or nurse practitioner, and they’ll be able to tell you whether it’s worth worrying about. A good idea in this instance is to start keeping notes of what kind of discharge you have every day — a vagina diary, for lack of a better term. That way, you can see if there’s a connection with your most stressful days and the discharge you’re seeing.

Another more serious possibility is that you end up with a vaginal infection.

It happens because the stressful changes in your body transfer to the bacteria in your vagina, throwing off the relationship between the good kind and bad kind. These infections can usually be taken care of pretty quickly with a round of antibiotics, but it’s important you check in with your doctor before you make any moves or decisions on your own.

Women suffering from anxiety regularly could also experience cramping pains in the lower region.

While this side effect isn’t explained in great detail by experts, it does happen every now and then, and it can be mistaken for period pain. Another possible side effect of an anxious mind is general discomfort in the vagina area, which might translate to a woman being less sexually active than she normally is.

This topic isn’t a popular one, probably because there haven’t been many studies done on the matter, at least not ones that are made available to the public. Even so, you can’t deny the fact that our bodies and minds are intricately connected, which doesn’t make it hard to imagine that what’s going on in our heads will somehow make its way down to affect what’s going on between our legs.

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So, what’s the solution here, especially for people suffering with mental illness or those who are going through a particularly stressful period in their lives?

For starters, know that you don’t have to live with an unhappy vagina. There are so many resources available to you, from licensed psychiatrists to trustworthy OBGYNs. Talk to a professional about what your options are. Maybe there are some treatments for your anxiety that you haven’t tried before; maybe there are different ways to take care of your vagina that you haven’t explored yet.

Whatever it is, reach out for help in order to find what works best for you. Because at the end of the day, your vagina isn’t alone — and neither are you.

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