Feminine Hygiene TipsLast Updated: November 17, 2018
It can be hard to know how to care for yourself - down there - because there's so much misinformation on the subject of feminine hygiene. And it doesn't help that most people want to stifle the conversation because they're uncomfortable talking about one of the most intimate of body parts! But really, what's more important: a little embarrassment (which, trust us, everyone else is suffering from it too) or being healthy?
If you answered the latter, then you've come to the right place. We've consulted experts in the field and gathered together the following important feminine hygiene tips to make sure your lady parts stay in tip-top shape. We'll cover the subject of douching, infections, and how to keep yourself generally clean and feeling fresh. We'll also discuss common problems when it comes to feminine hygiene, and provide some useful solutions here in this article. For more information, just keep reading! You might be surprised by what you learn:
General Feminine Hygiene Protocol
Below are some general tips for maintaining regular vagina health and hygiene. Following these should leave your dainty-space feeling fresh and clean all day, every day:
- Wash daily with warm water, and also immediately after vigorous activity (like exercise). You can use a very mild soap if you wish, but keep in mind that it is completely optional. In fact, if you choose too harsh of a soap, it may do more harm than good for the overall health and hygiene of your vaginal area. Harsh soaps and artificial scents can cause irritation, dryness, and infections (which we will touch on later).
- Never use douche. Avoid it like the plague! Douches are choc-full of harsh chemicals which will disrupt the delicate balance of your vagina's natural flora. While douching might make things seem clean and fresh for a little while, the odor and discharge you're trying to avoid will return with a vengeance later on - possibly within a few hours. Trust us: the short, perceived period of cleanliness is not worth the long-term damage that douching causes.
- Try to keep your private area dry and free of oils, sweat, and unneeded moisture whenever you aren't washing, swimming, exercising, or having sex. When these things collect in the pelvic region, they can make your natural scent seem stronger than usual. They may also cause a pH imbalance, which can lead to infection if you aren't careful.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear as often as possible. Tight-fitting undergarments and dense fabrics will trap humidity, moisture, and bacteria in your pelvic region, which can cause more of the problems mentioned above.
- Feel free to trim, wax, or shave your pubic hair if you are concerned about the collection of dampness and sweat. When things become overgrown down there, it can easily trap unwanted moisture and bacteria. Trimming, shaving, and waxing can help your vagina stay clean and dry.
- Avoid cross-contamination: always wipe front-to-back, and always put on a fresh condom before engaging in vaginal intercourse. This helps protect against harmful bacteria, such as trace amounts of fecal matter, from contaminating your love tunnel. Anal-vaginal cross contamination is actually one of the most common causes of infection.
- If you suffer from chronic vaginal infections, try to incorporate more garlic and yogurt into your diet. The garlic has antifungal properties, which will help clear up yeast infections, and the yogurt encourages the growth of good vaginal bacteria, thereby reducing bacterial vaginosis.
Signs of Good - and Bad - Feminine Hygiene
Now that you know basic feminine hygiene tips, it's time to learn the difference between good feminine hygiene, and when things aren't quite right between your hips. For starters, let's get one thing perfectly straight: despite what your grandmother might have told you, or what you might have seen in the movies, or the disgust expressed by that guy at your job who owns a few too many fedoras, it is perfectly healthy and natural for your vagina to have its own unique smell. Don't be afraid of it; in fact, think of it as an indicator of your reproductive health - because that's exactly what it is. If you are following a healthy diet, exercising enough, getting quality sleep, and keeping your "vee-jay" adequately groomed and clean, then your own natural musk is a sign that everything is a-okay down under.
However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, it may be time to see a doctor (preferably a gynecologist). These symptoms include:
- Itching and/or dryness
- A foul, pungent smell (or a change in your natural odor)
- A smelly, opaque discharge that may be either white, yellow, or green
These are the typical signs and symptoms of a vaginal infection. Unfortunately, they are very common and can be caused by any number of things. And as if they weren't bad enough on their own, they could take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to clear up, even with the proper treatment. This is why good hygiene is so important - because preventing an infection from happening in the first place is much easier than curing it.
Treatment methods for vaginal infections vary depending on their root cause. If it is an STD, you will have to go to your doctor and get it treated with prescription antibiotics. For bacterial infections which are not caused by sexual contact, there are a variety of over-the-counter treatments which are easy to get from your local drug store. Some of them even come with a handy kit which will tell you whether you have a bacterial infection, or a yeast (which is a type of fungal) infection. It is very important to know which type of infection you have, because treating it with the wrong medicine could make the situation a whole lot worse.
So there you go: feminine hygiene tips 101. We hope you've learned something new today, and that you get some great benefits from the advice we've dropped in this article. Enjoy keeping your vagina clean and healthy!