Just like menstruation, vaginal hygiene is taboo. Many women to date refrain from talking, discussing, or sharing tips on how to maintain feminine hygiene. Therefore, it is important to know about vaginal hygiene to keep the genitals clean and the reproductive tract healthy.
11 Best Tips For Vaginal Hygiene
Keep the undergarments clean and dry
Not wiping the vagina after urinating can cause the panties to get wet which leads to a bad vaginal smell and odor and puts you at risk of vaginal infections. Therefore, it is always advised to wipe the area using toilet paper or soft cloth so the underwear is always dry. The vaginal fluid or discharge is an indication of a healthy vaginal environment. Using products like talcum powder or excessive wiping of the vagina can make it very dry which can cause itchiness and drying of the vagina. It can also cause pain during sex and make it prone to injury. According to a research study, the perineal use of talcum powder can increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
Changing sanitary pads after 4-6 hours
According to a Delhi-based gynecologist, women having normal blood flow should change a sanitary napkin every 4-6 hours. The same applies to the days when having light blood flow. However, if having heavy flow during periods then changing sanitary pads every 3-4 hours is a must. If using a tampon, then change it every 6 hours without fail. Also, clean the area every time going washroom during periods. If sanitary napkins or tampons are not changed for a long time, it can cause skin rashes and bad odors. In certain cases, it can also put at risk of infections. Also, some women tend to use reusable cloth pads which need to be properly washed and dried before using them.
Clean the vagina after intercourse without fail
Make sure to clean the vagina every time after indulging in sex. This is because body fluids and particles from condoms can lead to 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 such as urinary tract infections.
Avoid soap while washing the vagina
Don’t use harsh soaps or scented soaps to clean the vagina. The use of soaps with harmful chemicals like glycerol, perfumes, and antiseptics can affect the healthy balance of the bacteria in the vagina. Also, it can also change the ph in the vaginal region which can lead to irritation and growth of unhealthy bacteria. Better to use plain soap and water, preferably lukewarm water to wash the area around the vagina.
A douche is a device that flushes up water into the vagina to clean vaginal secretions and involves the use of certain chemicals which can interfere with the vaginal ph. This can disrupt the normal vaginal bacteria. Moreover, there is no evidence that douching can protect against sexually transmitted infections or vaginal infections.
Avoid scented feminine hygiene products
It is not a good idea to use feminine hygiene products like scented wipes, vaginal deodorants, or scrubs to keep the vagina healthy. In fact, these products can worsen the condition and make one prone to infections. Moreover, using vaginal scrubs can lead to peeling of the skin which can further up the risk of infections.
Have safe sex
Unprotected sex carries the risk of sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, warts, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Hence, using protection like condoms every time having sex is one of the simplest and effective ways to prevent STIs, vaginal infections, and unwanted pregnancies. But before using, check for any allergic material and pick to right one. Also, avoid using lubes during the act as it damages the vagina and also puts at risk of infections.
Avoid wearing tight clothes
Most experts suggest wearing undergarments made from cotton. This is because wearing tight clothes made from synthetic fabrics causes sweating due to reduced air circulation. Excessive sweating and moisture can cause the growth of bacteria and yeast causing vaginal infection. Avoid using leather pants, tight jeans, and wet bathing suits for a long period of time. Also, keep changing the clothes after working out or exercising any activity which can be sweaty.
Learn the right way to wipe
The right way to clean the vagina is from front to back; from the vagina to anus and not the other way round which will drag the harmful bacteria to the vagina.
Do not shave pubic hair
Some women prefer shaving pubic hair as the hair looks gross and unclean. But as per researchers, pubic hair acts as a safety net that protects the vagina from bacterial infections.
Do not ignore signs of vaginal infections
Never ignore signs and symptoms of vaginal infections. Whether having a stinky smell or excessive vaginal discharge or colored vaginal discharge, do consult the doctor. Never ignore an itch and pain in the vaginal region as it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.
Every woman should follow basic feminine hygiene tips for a healthy vagina. Spread awareness and stay clean.
- Top 12 vaginal hygiene tips every woman should know – Times of India (indiatimes.com)
- Vulvar Care (clevelandclinic.org)