Most of us are concerned about keeping our vagina clean of pubic hair through shaving or waxing, but we tend to neglect our vaginal hygiene in other ways. Though vagina’s have their own self-cleaning processes with the use of natural secretions and bacteria, we need to ensure that we do not disrupt this process, while still keeping the surrounding areas like the vulva clean, and preventing any kind of irritation or infection of the skin. We have compiled a list of things you should be doing and things you shouldn’t be doing while treating this area. Keep reading to find out more:
1. Wear A Dry Cotton Underwear
Not patting your vagina dry after urinating can dampen your underwear which can put you at risk for vaginal infections. Cotton underwear is more breathable, reduces sweating and allows air circulation. Excessive sweating and moisture can make the area prone to infections, with the growth of bacteria and yeast.
2. Pat Instead Of Rub
Vagina is a sensitive area that requires extra care and attention, thus while ensuring it’s dry, it is essential that you pat the area and not rub it dry. Rubbing can cause skin irritation, especially if you’re absorbing the moisture. Skin irritation or rashes can be quite discomforting and painful in that region.
3. Exercise Your Pelvic Area
Dr. Suzi Elneil, consultant in urogynaecology at University College Hospital London, says that “Normal exercise helps maintain good vaginal function, as walking and running helps the pelvic floor to tone up and ensure good general help.” Kegel exercises are especially recommended in aiding the movement and health of your pelvic area. Your exercise routine contributes to good health in so many ways!
4. Get Constant Checkups From Your Gynaecologist
Consistent visits to the gynaecologist ensures that you are taking care of your vagina, and that there is no sign of infection or development of cancer. Tests can be done to check for any sexually transmitted diseases like STDS.
5. Change Your Sanitary Pads After 3-4 Hours
The length of time you can wear a sanitary pad depends on how heavy your flow is, but gynaecologists generally advice changing it after every 3-4 hours. For tampons, the recommended wear time is no more than 5-6 hours. Using sanitary pads and tampons for longer periods of time can lead to rashes, infections and bad odour. With the new trend of reusable cloth pads or menstrual underwear, one should ensure that they are washed and dried frequently and properly before using them. Panty liners are used to keep the underwear clean from vaginal discharge, but they can irritate the skin and prevent it from breathing, while increasing the risk of infection, so it’s important to change them frequently.
6. Eat Probiotic-Rich Food
Foods like greek yogurt and kimchi contain probiotics that help fight off infections. They balance the pH in our body which in turn, helps to prevent yeast infections.
1. Use Scented Soaps To Wash Your Vagina
Harsh and scented soaps contain harmful chemicals like glycerol, which can affect the healthy growth of bacteria in your vagina. Moreover, the PH level in the vaginal area can be changed, ultimately causing irritation and growth of unhealthy bacteria. You can use plain soap and preferably luke warm water to wash the area. Many other feminine hygiene products, including deodorants, can make the skin more prone to infection, even leading to the peeling of the skin.
Medications like antibiotics if taken unnecessarily or in the wrong dosage, can affect the growth of healthy bacteria in your vagina. Moreover, many women are also reluctant to go to a gynaecologist if they face any kind of vaginal infection, and instead resort to home remedies such as applying baking soda solution or anti-fungal creams. This approach is very wrong, especially since applying something without proper medical guidance inside your vagina may cause various problems.
3. Wear Tight Clothing
Wearing tight clothes may restrict air circulation for your vagina, creating a humid environment. Excessive sweating and moisture can cause infections, while the friction of fabric on the skin can result in irritation. After working out or swimming, you should not stay in the same damp clothing for long. Doctors even recommend changing your underwear twice a day if you have excessive discharge.
A douche is a device that flushes out all your vaginal secretions, leaving it dry and clean. Douching uses certain chemicals that interfere and affect the PH level that is to be maintained in the area, which further disrupts the healthy bacteria present there. Furthermore, there is no evidence that douching protects you from sexually transmitted infections or vaginal infections.
5. Ignore Signs Of Vaginal Infections
Bad odour, excessive discharge and coloured vaginal discharge are some of the alarming symptoms that all is not right with your vagina. Any itchiness or pain should also be immediately reported and consulted about with the doctor.