Vaginal health and hygiene is very important but not talked about enough due to taboos regarding sex and reproductive organs. In our effort to keep it hush hush, we do not take proper care of our private parts which can lead to various diseases and complications. There are many misconceptions about how to maintain good vaginal health. Here are a few do’s and don’ts:
Follow good hygiene
Women should follow some common hygienic habits like changing sanitary pads and tampons regularly during menstruation. If you experience a lot of normal discharge (no odour, not white), you can change your underwear twice or thrice, to feel more comfortable and also avoid infections.
Choose the right clothing
Try and wear cotton underwear at all times. Yeast tends to thrive in certain fabrics which are of a tight-fitting. They create a warm and moist environment for your vagina.
Healthy diet for healthy vagina
It might sound surprising, but your diet can help maintain healthy vaginal health. A balanced and nutritious diet along with drinking lots of fluids are important. Certain foods specifically help in dealing with vaginal problems. Examples being, Yogurt can help in preventing yeast infections and Cranberry supplements are useful to prevent and treat UTI’s.
Cleansing your vagina properly is extremely important for healthy vaginal function. Dead skin cells, oil and germs can build up between your clitoris and your clitoral hood, as well as inside your vagina, so it’s important to lift and rinse thoroughly so it doesn’t harden and cause infections or diseases. Also, wiping from ‘front to back’ keeps rectal bacterial away, and is an easier method of cleansing.
Do not douche
The natural pH balance of the vagina is between 3.8 to 4.5. Douching affects the balance, reduces acidity and gives room for bacterial infections. Most people douche to get rid of the odour. However, this will only cover up the smell and not cure the actual reason of the odour. Women must avoid using harsh soaps or cleansers on the vulva or inside the vagina. They all contribute to pH imbalance. Using any foreign method for cleaning disturbs the natural flora of the vagina. Vagina has its own ecosystem which comprises lactobacillus that creates lactic acid. This lactic acid is helpful in killing the pathological bacteria in vagina. They also produce Hydrogen Peroxide which triggers killing these pathological bacteria in the vagina.
Have safe sex to keep harmful germs away
Safe sex practices are critical to prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), genital herpes etc. Ensure that your partner wears condoms and make sure that they change condoms when switching from oral or anal sex to vaginal sex. Consult your gynecologists regularly, to keep a track of diseases and infections that can affect your vagina and the reproductive system. Urinating after masturbation or sex reduces the number of bacteria in your urinary tract which helps prevent diseases such as UTI or vaginal infections.
Use enough lubricants, but not petroleum jelly
Lubrication is an important part of intercourse. However, if a woman isn’t able to naturally produce enough lubrication, petroleum jelly or oil should never be used as it can cause inflammation and/or infections. Use water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based lubricants for increasing lubrication.
Follow these practices and keep your vagina healthy and infection free!