The vaginal ecosystem

The vaginal ecosystem is a complex environment with a delicate balance among microorganisms, chemical and physical characteristics, biochemical processes and is predominantly influenced by estrogen.

Lactobacilli are bacteria that dominate the vaginal flora and play a fundamental role in maintaining a healthy vaginal environment:
Lactobacilli use glycogen, whose quantity depends on estrogen levels, in order to produce lactic acid.
  This helps maintain an acid environment, which prevents the growth of pathogens.
Certain strains of Lactobacilli produce hydrogen peroxide, inhibiting the growth of
  harmful bacteria.
They produce bacteriocins, substances with antibacterial activity.
They produce bio-surfactants that create a barrier against pathogens.

Many pathogenic vaginal microorganisms, such as Candida albicans, Escherichia coli and Gardnerella vaginalis, are strongly inhibited by Lactobacilli.

Proper intimate hygiene has a fundamental role in maintaining balance in the vaginal ecosystem and preventing pathological situations.
Saugella has developed effective solutions based on natural plant extracts that meet the needs of women of all ages and respect their physiological vaginal environment at all ages.

    In the first few weeks following birth the vulvovaginal mucosa is still affected by maternal estrogen, which should gradually subside.

    The labia are swollen. The labia minora are already well developed. The vaginal mucosa has a high content of glycogen. Lactobacilli, responsible for vaginal acidity (pH), colonize the mucosa immediately after birth. There may be a whitish vaginal discharge.

    There is no production of sex hormones such as estrogen.

    How the vulva changes:
    Hair follicles are immature and sebaceous glands begin to produce their secretion. The Mound of Venus and the labia majora reduce gradually.
    How the vagina changes:
    The vaginal mucosa becomes much thinner, less layered and has a low content of glycogen.
    The vaginal pH is neutral or alkaline.
    There is a reduced presence of Lactobacilli.

    Under the stimulus of the sex hormones (estrogen and progestin) ovaries mature and the first menstruation occurs. Secondary sexual characteristics develop.

    How the vulva changes:
    The vulva slowly matures and takes on other characteristics. Subcutaneous fat begins to settle on the Mound of Venus, the labia majora and the clitoris become more prominent. The glands begin to produce their lubricant secretion. Pubic hair grows. The vulvar mucosa thickens.
    How the vagina changes:
    The cervix and vagina increase in size. The vaginal mucosa thins out and layers. The glycogen content in the mucosa cells varies cyclically with the menstrual cycle. Cervicovaginal secretions begin. The presence of vaginal Lactobacilli progressively increases.

    The menstrual cycle, regulated with a complex hormonal system, stabilizes.

    What happens to the vulva:
    The appearance of the vulva is ripe. The vulvar mucosa thickens and remains well lubricated.
    What happens to the vagina:
    The vaginal mucosa thickens and glycogen levels increase at the time of ovulation. The quantity of vaginal Lactobacilli increases, ensuring the acidity of the vaginal environment. Before ovulation mucus secretion increases, becoming clearer and more elastic. This facilitate sperm transport in the event of sexual intercourse.

    The menstrual cycle stops during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.

    How the vulva changes:
    The increased blood flow causes a darkening of the color of the vulva. Progesterone increases venous distensibility, causing some women to develop vulvar varicose veins.
    How the vagina changes:
    After delivery and during breastfeeding the vaginal secretions may be reduced temporarily due to changes in the vaginal ecosystem. Moreover, obstetrical traumas can cause pain during intercourse (dyspareunia). Vaginal muscles thicken and strengthen to prepare for childbirth. The risk of Candida infections and other vaginitis increase. After giving birth, the shape and size of the vaginal tract restore progressively (6-12 weeks).

    Estrogen levels decrease and ovarian function and menstruation cease. During the transition period before menopause, women can experience symptoms very variable in intensity and type: irregular periods, hot flashes, sweats, cramps, breast tenderness and dryness of mucous membranes. Urinary incontinence may also occur.

    How the vulva changes:
    Pubic hair thins out . The subcutaneous fat reduces. The mucosa is thinner, less lubricated, tends to be dry (mucosal atrophy), and itching or burning sensations may occur. The mucosa is more easily irritated and is sensitive to infections.
    How the vagina changes:
    The vaginal mucosa thins out and becomes more dry and less elastic. Some women experience irritation, burning and itching. Vaginal dryness can cause pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), discomfort and anxiety. Atrophic vaginitis is common in post-menopausal women. Vaginal pH increases and the harmful bacteria can overgrow Lactobacilli.
    The frequency of urinary and vaginal
    infections increases.