Just like menstruation, vaginal hygiene is a taboo subject in India. Many women till date refrain from talking or sharing tips on how to maintain feminine hygiene. However, it is important to know about vaginal hygiene to keep your genitals clean and your reproductive tract healthy. No matter what age you are, there are few basic vaginal hygiene rules every woman should know about!
1.Focus on the area around the vagina
Only the external part of your vagina should be cleaned and not the internal part. “The vagina has its own anti-germs mechanisms you do not have to do so much to clean it by yourself.”Explains Grace Nguna, a gynecologist at a leading hospital
2.Avoid wearing tight clothes
Most experts recommend that you should wear undergarments made from breathable fabrics like cotton. This is because wearing tight clothes and inners made from synthetic fabrics cause sweating due to reduced air circulation. Excessive sweating and moisture can lead to the growth of bacteria and yeast, causing vaginal infection. Avoid using leather pants, tight spandex, and wet bathing suits for a long period of time. Also, do change your clothes after working out or exercising or any activity which can be sweaty.
3.Avoid using soap and shower gels
Naturally your vagina has a p.h of 3.5 to 4.5 and using soap,shower gels and detergents would either increase or reduce the p.h. Additionally using soap when cleaning the vagina,wipes out the good bacteria that keeps that bad bacteria inside your ‘kitty’
4.Use a washcloth
When cleaning your vagina use a clean washcloth to wipe around the vulva(outer part) only. Going beyond the vulva will not only leave your vagina very dry but also will do away with the good bacteria that keeps it safe from yeast infections
5.Keep the undergarments dry
Not wiping the vagina after urinating can cause the panties to get wet, which can not only lead to bad odour but put you at risk of vaginal infections. Hence, it is always advised to wipe the area using toilet paper or a soft cloth so your underwear is always dry.
The vaginal fluid or discharge is a part of a healthy vaginal environment. The use of products such as talcum powder or excessive wiping of the vagina can make it very dry which can cause itchiness and vaginal dryness. It can also lead to pain during sex and make it prone to injury. Moreover, according to a research study it was reported that perineal use of talcum powder can increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
6.Avoid all lotions and deodorants
Do not use lotions,deodorants or alcohol based reagents when cleaning your kitty. Using perfumed soaps or deodorants will leave your vagina itching that will give you a big discomfort
7.Say no to scented feminine hygiene products
It is not a good idea to use feminine hygiene products such as scented wipes, vaginal deodorants or scrubs to keep the vagina healthy. In fact, these products can worsen the condition and make you prone to infections. Moreover, using vaginal scrubs can lead to peeling of the skin, which can further up your risk of infections.
8.Wipe from the front to the back
To avoid rectal germs and from urinary tract infection (UTI) wipe your ‘coochie’ from the front to the back to the rear and not vise-versa. The poop give you various infections
9.Dry off after shower
Remember to dry yourself when you are from the shower and before you put on an underwear. Dry your vagina in a slow motion without trying to go in the inside room.
10.Clean the vagina after intercourse without fail
Make it a habit to clean the vagina every time after indulging in sex. This is because body fluids and particles from condoms can cause irritation. Also, not cleaning up after the act can make you prone to vaginal infections. So always clean the vagina after sex with water to prevent infections like urinary tract infections (UTIs)
11.Observe any changes
Apart from the normal menstrual cycle,it is normal to produce clear or white secretions (discharge) from your vagina. This mucus is produced naturally from the neck of the womb, known as the cervix. “The main signs of an imbalance are change in odor, discharge, appearance, itching or pain during intercourse which might need a doctors interventions,” says Grace.
12.Avoid baby wipes
Baby wipes contain concentrations of alcohol that will have an itchy and a drying effect on your vagina. Therefore cease from using such materials on your vagina.
13.Go commando or at least wear a cotton underwear
Choose your underwear carefully when shopping,underwear made from materials such as silk or polyester, trap moisture hence creating room for bacteria. Consider choosing cotton underwear or go commando.
14.Change your sanitary pads regularly
Change your pads regularly so that they should not create a feeding ground for bacteria. Neither should you wear pads when you are not on your periods in order to trap the normal discharge because it will only make things worse.
15.Have a Balanced diet
Take yogurt,fruits and adequate water for a healthy vajayjay. Everything should go through your mouth and not through the vagina.
16.Never try self-medication
Most women are reluctant to consult a gynaecologist when it comes to infections or diseases of the genital areas such as ringworm infection, pubic lice infection, vaginal dryness, or itching. In fact, trying some quick home remedies such as using baking soda solution to wash the vagina or applying some homemade paste to get rid of the odour. Moreover, using over the counter antifungal or antibacterial ointment or creams is the go-to remedy if home remedies fail to provide any relief. But this approach is completely wrong. It is best to consult a doctor for all these problems.
Every woman should follow these basic feminine hygiene tips to ensure a healthy vagina. Do share this information with all your friends to spread awareness including your daughters. Because knowing these tips right from puberty can make a huge difference in the overall health and wellness.
17.Do not shave pubic hair
Some women prefer shaving pubic hair as they think the pubic hair looks gross and unclean. But if research has to be believed, pubic hair acts as a safety net which protects the vulva (outer part of the female genitalia that surrounds the opening of the vagina) from bacterial infections.
Moreover, the use of non-electric shaving methods such as razors for shaving the genital hair was found to cause genital injuries. Also, if you are planning to get it done at a parlour, then beware of the products used which might be laden with chemicals and instruments which can be used without cleaning.
18.Practice safe sex
Unprotected sex carries the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, warts, syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Hence, using protection such as condoms every time you have sex is one of the simplest and effective ways to prevent STIs and vaginal infections and unwanted pregnancies. But before you use one, check if you are allergic to the material of the condom and pick the one that suits you.
Also, avoid using lubes during the act as it can damage the vagina and also put you at risk of infections. The use of lubricants, which contains glycerin, can damage or irritate the vaginal cells, which in turn, ups the risk of STDs such as herpes and HIV. If your partner suffers from any sexually transmitted diseases, then it is advised to abstain from sex till the time the symptoms subside or as recommended by your doctor. It is always better to be safe than sorry.