Vaginal Health and Hygiene: Proper hygiene is key when it comes to maintaining your physical health and wellbeing. Staying clean prevents the unwelcome arrival of harmful bacteria that can make you sick. This is especially true if you have a vagina.
Unfortunately, valuable discussion and education about vaginal health don’t happen as often as it should. But it is critical to be open about vaginal health so you’re more likely to prevent infections and other issues. Read on to learn about 5ways to take care of your vagina.
1. Wash More Than You Might Think
You should wash your vagina daily. This is especially true when you have your period, and it may be helpful to wash multiple times a day during this time.
Water is the best thing you can use when washing as well as a mild and unscented soap. You should avoid using scented soaps and products because they can irritate and strip away helpful bacteria, which is connected to your vagina’s natural pH level.
While going through your day-to-day activities, such as using the restroom, make sure that you keep your vagina clean them as well.
2. Sanitary Products
When it comes to sanitary products designed for menstruation, you should make sure you use them based on the label’s instructions. When using liners or pads, change them several times a day. Wearing them for too long can make them uncomfortable and may cause bacteria to grow.
When you wear tampons, be sure to take them out at intervals designated by the directions. For most tampons, this is usually every 4-6 hours depending on your flow. Leaving them in for longer than is recommended may increase your chances of TSS (toxic shock syndrome).
Menstrual cups are another great option, especially for those who are environmentally conscious and want to save money and time.
3. “Extra” Products
When caring for your vagina, you should avoid excessive external products that might irritate or damage your body. Be wary of all the “extra” vaginal hygiene products and solutions that companies will try to market towards you. For example, douches and other similar products for covering up odor should be used minimally or not at all. They can disrupt your body’s natural pH.
In addition, these kinds of products only cover up the problem instead of fixing it. If you are having prolonged symptoms, it is a good idea to seek professional medical attention.
Baby powder is another product to avoid. For many decades, women have used baby powder for feminine hygiene use and odor control. However, in recent years evidence has surfaced that baby powder from Shower to Shower and other brands have been linked to ovarian cancer.
You may not think that clothing is an important factor when it comes to vaginal health and hygiene, but it plays a huge role. First, you should try to wear cotton underwear because cotton absorbs moisture better. Don’t wear pants that are really tight for too long, as this has a tendency to restrict airflow to the area and increase the growth of bacteria.
After you work out, be sure to change out of your sweaty clothes. If you go swimming, you should avoid wearing a damp swimsuit all day.
Last but not least, sex is an important element of your overall health, but especially your vaginal health. One tip is to urinate after sex to help prevent urinary tract infections. You should also keep toys and other things you use with your partner clean between uses. If switching between types of intercourse, put on a new condom.
Keeping your vagina clean will help keep it healthy. If you have questions, ask a doctor or a friend you feel comfortable with.