A lot of women growing up were often told to remain hush-hush about what was going on down there. From periods to UTIs, people with vulvas were never given the memo about maintaining one’s intimate health and practicing proper vaginal hygiene. It’s not only important to have a healthy vagina for your physical well-being, but it’s also incredibly helpful in boosting one’s self-confidence and self-esteem, especially in intimate relationships.
In this article, we shall cover some of those handy suggestions and tips every woman and vulva-haver should know to take better care of their intimate health.
Why is it important to look after your intimate health?
Even though the vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism and doesn’t need any intimate wash, the vulva, or the parts of the female genitalia except for the vagina need simple hygiene practices to stay clean and healthy, just as you look after your body. So, let’s dive straight into why intimate health is of utmost importance:
- Staying healthy down there: Improper hygiene practices or engaging in unsafe sex can often disrupt the natural vagina ecosystem. Hence, giving adequate attention to your vaginal hygiene ensures that you stay safe from yeast infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), etc.
- Preventing unusual sensations: When you engage in regular intimate health practices, you reduce the chances of itching, irritation or any unusual or unpleasant feeling or odors. While your vulva doesn’t have to smell like a meadow or a cake, you can keep track of the subtle changes in scent, and if it feels close to how it usually smells or feels like.
- Promoting sexual well-being: Practicing proper hygiene can minimize the risk of sexually transmitted infections and keep your vaginal area healthy and receptive to pleasurable experiences.
How should you clean and care for your intimate parts?
Your vagina has a natural mechanism in place to keep itself clean and in good form, given favorable circumstances (including safe sex practices, taking regular showers, etc.). However, here are some handy suggestions to ensure better intimate health:
- Use mild, pH-balanced cleansers for the vulva: Your vagina doesn’t need any intimate wash, water is enough to keep it healthy and happy. However, for the vulvar region, you can use all-natural, fragrance-free, and gentle cleansers that are designed for intimate use. Refrain from using any harsh soaps or products loaded with harmful chemicals since they can disrupt the natural intimate pH.
- Be mindful of your wiping technique: As a practice after using the toilet, always wipe from front to back to prevent the spread of bacteria from the anal area to the vagina.
- Wear breathable undies: Try to wear underwear made of a comfortable fabric such as cotton, to let your intimate area breathe, and maintain airflow. This helps in preventing excessive sweating and maintaining vaginal hygiene and health.
Avoid douching: Contrary to popular notions, douching is a strict no-no since it can seriously harm the natural balance of the vagina, which may cause infections. Say no to douching and use of intimate wash
for your vagina.
Here are 10 vaginal hygiene tips to keep in mind:
- Practice safe sex: The best way to practice safe sex is by using condoms to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and promote sexual wellness. Active STI testing is highly encouraged if you’re sexually active.
- Diet matters: It’s been established via research that a healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients can significantly support overall vaginal health. Stay hydrated and load up on water to keep your vulva happy!
- Keep scented products at bay: Steer clear of scented intimate products as they can cause irritation and disrupt the natural balance of the vagina.
- Change your menstrual products often: Whether you use tampons, pads, or menstrual cups, change them frequently to prevent bacterial overgrowth, itching, or funky odors.
- Practice good hygiene during menstruation: As a best practice, wash your intimate area with water and mild, pH-balanced, and fragrance-free cleanser during your period.
- Choose your daily underwear wisely: Avoid wearing tight-fitting undies or lingerie made out of non-breathable fabrics such as lace or satin for extended hours. Opt for comfortable, cotton underwear to promote airflow and reduce moisture. Use a plant-based, chemical-free, and mild underwear detergent like That Sassy Thing’s Clean Qween to ensure your undies are squeaky clean to support your intimate health!
- Avoid prolonged use of liners or similar products: While panty liners can be used occasionally, wearing them daily paves the way for a moist vaginal environment thereby promoting bacterial growth.
- If you’re going in the water, change out of wet clothes ASAP: Prolonged exposure to water or a moist environment such as beaches, swimming pools, during a workout, etc., can favor bacterial growth. As soon as you’re out, change into dry clothes to maintain overall health and hygiene.
- Clean your sex toys before and after use: If you use pleasure products such as sex toys, do ensure that you’re cleaning them regularly so as to maintain hygiene.
- Pay periodic visits to your healthcare provider: Schedule regular check-ups as and when possible to monitor your intimate health. If you face any concerns or notice any unusual symptoms, do reach out to a credible medical professional.
Feeling healthy inside and out
Taking care of your intimate health and practicing proper vaginal hygiene is super crucial for feeling good inside out. By following these handy pro tips, you can promote thriving vaginal health, stay clear of infections, and take care of your intimate health.
Remember that each person's body is unique, so it is essential to listen to your body and seek professional help or medical advice when needed.