Not every woman takes time out to think about how her vagina’s doing, and that’s perhaps the biggest mistake one can ever make. Yes, the vagina is naturally designed to keep itself in good order by healthy secretions, but that does not mean that you don’t need to care for it at all.
According to the American Sexual Health Association, what keeps you healthy also keeps your vagina healthy. This means that a nutritious diet, exercise and overall good health are just the things you need to ensure vaginal health.
But that’s not all you need to do. A number of bacterial and fungal infections can occur in the vagina during a woman’s lifetime and the different sexual-reproductive phases she goes through. This makes daily vaginal hygiene and care a must for all women. The following are the simple dos and don’ts of vaginal care that every woman should keep in mind.
Vaginal care do’s
- Choose the right underwear: Cotton is the best fabric for vulvovaginal health, so pick cotton always. Tight underwear can rub against the skin and genitals, leading to rashes and inflammation, so make sure the fit is comfortable.
- Do your Kegels: Pelvic floor strengthening exercises are great for your vaginal muscles too, so don’t skip these during your workout. In case you do forget, you can still do them anywhere, anytime since no one will be able to tell.
- Practice safe sex: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis can all be passed through unsafe sex. So use internal or external condoms always.
- Wipe carefully: Always wipe your vagina and anus front to back to avoid the spread of germs. This can go a long way in avoiding infections.
- Trim for health: Carefully trim your pubic hair to avoid excess sweating and to be able to see any changes down there. If there are moles, bumps or pimples, go to a doctor, but don’t risk shaving off your pubic hair.
Vaginal care don’ts
- Don’t douche: The natural pH of the vagina is 3.8-4.5, which might seem acidic to you but it avoids unhealthy bacteria growth. Douching creates a pH imbalance in the vagina, which is quite unhealthy.
- Don’t use too many products: Don’t use harsh soaps, scented products or scrubs to wash your genitals. Many of these contain chemicals and can irritate the sensitive skin of your vulva and also cause bacterial imbalance in your vagina.
- Don’t swap out the lube: Don’t use products like petroleum jelly or lotion as lubricants during sex. These products can cause discomfort, inflammation and even infections.
- Don’t forget to change: Don’t wear sanitary pads or tampons for more than four-five hours. This can cause infections and even send your body into toxic shock if you keep these on for too long.
- Don’t remove pubic hair: Especially if it means going all bare. Pubic hair exists for a good reason and removing it can cause burns, rashes, ingrown hairs that hurt and other complications.
- Don’t avoid gynaecological appointments: Every woman needs a good gynaecologist and needs to see them for regular check-ups. Skipping these appointments for any excuse can increase your risk of vaginal diseases.
For more information, read our article on Vagina and vaginal health.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.