Your vagina is a delicate part of the body that needs proper care to stay clean and healthy. The vagina itself (the internal opening that leads to your cervix) is self-cleaning and doesn’t need to be washed.
However, it’s important to wash your vulva (the outer part of your genitals) and the area around your anus to help prevent infections and irritation in the vagina.
Establish a daily washing routine to keep the area around your vagina clean. You can also keep clean by adopting good hygiene habits, such as wearing breathable cotton underwear and wiping front to back when you use the bathroom.
Creating a Daily Cleansing Routine
Wash the area around your vagina at least once a day. Throughout the day, sweat and moisture can build up in your genital area, providing a good environment for bacteria and yeast. Wash the area daily as part of your regular bath or shower routine to prevent vaginal infections and unpleasant odours.
If you are on your period, it’s a good idea to wash more than once a day during your menstrual cycle.
Use plain, unscented soap to wash your genital area.
When you wash, use warm water and gentle, unscented soap, feminine wash or body wash. Harsh, perfumed soaps can irritate your vulva and vagina and throw off your vagina’s natural pH balance, possibly leading to infections.
Some people can use lightly scented soaps without any problems. However, if you are prone to infections and irritation, try switching to an unscented or hypoallergenic soap.
You can use your hand or a very soft washcloth to wash your vulva, but don’t use a harsh washcloth or loofah. Scrubbing the area can be irritating.
Spread your outer labia and clean the folds around your clitoris.
As you wash, be careful to clean all the creases and folds around your vagina. Gently spread your outer labia (the large, fleshy pads or “lips” on the outside of your vulva) and wipe around the skin folds inside, making sure to wash around the hood of your clitoris and the area outside the entrance to your vagina.
Try not to get any soap inside your vagina itself, since this can be drying and irritating.
Cleanse your anal area last.
Once you’re done washing your vulva, move to your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) and then your anus and the area between your buttocks. Always move from the front to back while you are washing so that you don’t spread germs from your anal area into your vagina.
Washing from back to front can increase your risk of developing a vaginal infection or urinary tract infection.
Rinse away all the soap when you’re done. After you’ve washed your entire genital area, rinse yourself thoroughly with plain, warm water. Make sure to wash away any remaining soap suds, since leaving them there could dry out or irritate the delicate skin around your genitals.
If you rinse with a handheld shower jet, take care not to get any of the sprays inside your vagina. Forcing water into your vagina can cause irritation, upset your vagina’s natural pH balance, or push unwanted bacteria up into your uterus.
Pat the area dry with a clean towel after you rinse.
Once you’re done washing and rinsing yourself, use a clean, dry towel to pat your genital area dry. Don’t rub the area, since doing so can irritate. You can also gently dry your vulva and groin area with a blow-dryer on a low, cool setting.
Stay away from douches, scented wipes, and deodorant sprays.
There are a variety of products on the market that claim to promote good vaginal hygiene and keep you smelling fresh. However, these products can cause irritation and wash away good bacteria, potentially leading to infections. Never use perfumed products on your vulva or vagina, and don’t use any type of douche unless your doctor recommends it. Avoid using scented bath oils or bubble baths, since these can cause irritation or vaginal infections.
Did you know? A healthy vagina has a population of beneficial bacteria that can help keep yeast and bad bacteria under control. When the population of good bacteria in your vagina is disrupted, unwanted organisms can move in and cause an infection.
Maintaining Good Vaginal Hygiene
Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom. Whenever you use the toilet, gently wipe from front to back even if you’ve only urinated. Wiping from back to front can move bacteria from your anal area into your vagina or urethra, putting you at risk of developing a vaginal or urinary tract infection.
Avoid toilet papers that contain perfumes, dyes, or lotions, since these can irritate your vulva and vagina. Stick to the plain white paper.
Clean up with mineral oil after stubborn bowel movements.
Doctors don’t recommend using wet wipes, even unscented ones, to wipe yourself. If you have trouble getting fresh and clean after a bowel movement, you can make wiping easier by adding a little mineral oil or unscented soap (such as Dove or Cetaphil body wash) to your toilet paper. Rinse off with a little water when you’re done, and pat yourself dry.
Studies show that using feminine wipes can not only cause pain and irritation but may significantly increase your chances of getting a urinary tract infection.
A baking soda soak can also help reduce itching and burning if you’re dealing with irritation or infection.
Mild odours and most vaginal secretions are natural and healthy. However, if they bother you, you can use a baking soda soak to cleanse your vulva and minimize odours. Fill a bathtub partway with lukewarm water and stir in 4-5 tablespoons (58-72 g) of baking soda. Soak in the tub 1-3 times a day for 10 minutes at a time.
Wear cotton underwear to prevent irritation and reduce moisture.
Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester keep in moisture and heat around your genital area, creating an environment that’s good for harmful bacteria and yeast. To prevent this, opt for more breathable cotton underwear, and change into a fresh pair daily (or more often, if your underwear gets damp or sweaty).
Avoid thongs and tight-fitting leggings or pants, since these can trap heat and moisture and irritate your vulva.
Try sleeping without underwear or wearing loose cotton boxers at night.
Launder new underwear before you wear it. New underwear may have harsh dyes or chemical residues that can irritate your vulva and vagina. Always wash your underwear before wearing it for the first time.
When you wash your underwear, use a mild, unscented detergent. You can also use an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent is rinsed out.
Get out of wet clothes immediately after swimming or exercising.
After you swim or exercise, change out of your wet clothing right away and dry yourself off thoroughly. Staying in wet or sweaty clothing can promote the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast in and around your vagina.
It’s also a good idea to shower as soon as you can after exercising or swimming to wash away sweat, grime, or chlorine.
Change your tampons and pads often during your period.
If you have periods, chan changege your pads or tampons frequently. Never wear a tampon for longer than 8 hours to prevent potentially deadly toxic shock syndrome. You should also try to change your pads at least every 3-4 hours, even if you’re not bleeding that much.
Don’t use scented pads or tampons, and stick to products made from 100% cotton if you can.
during sex and urinate afterwards to prevent infections. If you have sex, you can reduce your risk of getting an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or bacterial infection by protection every time. Ask your partner to use protection, or use an internal condom to protect your vagina.
It’s also a good idea to urinate and shower immediately after sex. This can help rinse away bacteria, sweat, and other bodily fluids that might contribute to bacterial or yeast infections.
Caution: While washing up after sex can help prevent problems like urinary tract infections, it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy. If you are having sex with a male partner, using a condom is one of the most effective ways to prevent STIs. It’s also a good birth control method, especially when combined with other forms of contraceptives, such as hormonal birth control pills.
Thank you for reading. See you again!
Please, comment share with friends and family.
Reference: Megarenz, PhD