The vagina is one body part that requires intimate care. But due to its ‘special nature’, this care can oftentimes be mysterious or downright confusing.
Here’s all you need to know on the matter of how to take care of the vagina, aka intimate area.
1. Wash with the outer area with lukewarm water and unscented soap
The vagina naturally remains quite clean on its own with minimal help from outside cleansers.
The vagina is like other parts of the body that has a pH level that needs to be maintained. Really, it has to be within a certain range – 3.5 and 4.5, to be specific.
This prevents the growth of unhealthy bacteria and encourage the growth of good bacteria.
Using harsh cleansers can upset the balance, leading to infection, irritation, and even unpleasant smells.
If you must use soap, opt for an unscented, mild body cleanser, feminine wash, or soap to wash the outer areas of your vagina.
Remember, the entire area “down there” is not the vagina. The vagina is actually the tube-like muscle located inside your body.
The vulva, i.e., the skin outside the vagina, may be cleaned with unscented soap, as long as you don’t find that it irritates your skin.
2. Don’t use douches or feminine sprays
Douching the intimate area with chemicals that are supposed to make your vagina smell like a field of lavender actually ends up having quite the opposite effect. They end up washing out all the healthy bacteria that help your vagina stay clean and infection-free.
The chemicals left behind by douches can cause irritation and even burning, and the same applies to feminine sprays, scented creams, pads, wipes, and tampons.
The trick is to keep your vagina healthy by adopting safe and healthier practices, so there’ll be no need to try to make it smell different.
If you feel like you compulsorily have to use a scent on your vagina, go for something completely natural and chemical-free. You can make your own body spray by mixing a few drops of essential oil like rose, lavender, or lemongrass with water in a spray bottle. Use the spray after showering, and make sure you’re completely dry before getting dressed.
3. Befriend cotton underwear
Cotton underwear allows air to flow freely through the fabric and dries quickly. This prevents the development of damp conditions that boost the growth of yeast and unhealthy bacteria that might lead to an infection.
You can also prevent these conditions by not wearing underwear, especially when indoors.
If you insist on wearing underwear made from silk, lace, nylon, polyester, or other materials do not breathe as well as cotton, but keep in moisture and heat around your genital area, ensure the section of the underwear that will be touching your vagina has a cotton liner.
If you are prone to getting a lot of vaginal infections, try picking underwear made from organic, undyed cotton that hasn’t been treated with any chemicals.
Also, avoid thongs and tight-fitting leggings or pants, since these can trap heat and moisture and irritate your vulva.
Make a habit of sleeping without underwear or wearing loose cotton boxers at night.
4. Launder new underwear before you launch it
New underwear tends to have harsh dyes or chemical residues that can irritate your vulva and vagina.
Ensure you always wash your underwear before wearing it for the first time.
Plus, when you wash your underwear, you want to use a mild, unscented detergent.
You can also use an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent is washed out.
5. Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom
This is a popular phenomenon on the subject of how to take care of the intimate area (vagina).
Experts recommend that after every toilet session, you gently wipe from front to back—even if you’ve only urinated.
Wiping from back to front can transport bacteria from your anal area into your vagina or urethra. This outs you at risk of developing a vaginal or urinary tract infection.
Have You Read: Best Sex Positions For Pregnancy
Also, avoid toilet papers that contain perfumes, dyes, etc., since these can irritate your vulva and vagina.
Stick to the plain white paper, or better still, wash off with water and then dab with an unscented toilet paper.
6. Change out of wet clothes quickly
Wearing a wet bathing suit or wet workout clothes for even a few hours leaves you prone to getting a yeast infection.
Make a habit of taking a shower and changing into clean, dry underwear as soon as possible after swimming or working out.
7. Wash after sex
When you have sex with a partner, you’re opening yourself up to bacteria and other microscopic organisms that can end up irritating your vagina and causing an infection.
The way out is to wash your vagina preferably with lukewarm water after sex. This will significantly minimize the chance that your encounter will have an unpleasant aftereffect.
8. Pee after sex
Pee after sex, even if you intend on washing, too. When you have sex, unwanted bacteria can travel up the urethra, which is connected to the bladder. Peeing after sex can help flush the bacteria out of the vaginal area, promoting general health and helping you avoid those irksome UTIs.
9. Go to the doctor if you notice something out of the ordinary
Sadly, a lot of women are not familiar with the way their vagina should look and feel.
This means that when something changes down there, they most likely won’t spot it.
Every vagina is different, and it’s important to know how yours normally looks, feels, and smells so that when something changes, you’ll notice and seek medical attention if necessary.
Reach out to your doctor if you notice a stark change in color, discharge that smells or looks different, warts or other bumps, or if you have a foreign pain in your vagina.
Find more resources on parenting for mums and connect with other mothers here