Sexual hygiene is not only important to stay smelling fresh, but to preserve your reproductive system as well as your unitary tract health too! Your vagina is a very sensitive area and any interferences with your pH balance can cause vaginal infections and other health troubles.
Keep reading for some basic sexual hygiene practices that every woman, regardless of age, should follow!
1) Avoid Soap
Yes, you read correctly. Most commercially sold scented soaps are harsh on your lady parts. These soaps often contain harmful chemicals such as glycerol, perfumes and antiseptics can affect the healthy balance of the bacteria in the vagina. Moreover, a drastic change in the pH balance can cause irritation and lead to growth of unhealthy bacteria.
Instead, use specially formulated feminine hygiene gel, soap-free wash or at least, lukewarm water and make sure you clean the area around the vagina thoroughly.
2) Wipe The Right Way
You’d think it’s simple enough, right? However, many women do not wipe themselves properly after using the bathroom which later could cause serious infections. The correct way to clean the vagina is from front to back (vagina to anus) – not the other way around! Wiping back to front actually brings in harmful bacteria from the anus to the vagina and cause faecal contamination.
3) Pee Before & After Sex
Because penetrative sex introduces bacteria to the inside of your body, it increases chances of developing infections. Even if your partner is wearing a condom, particles of the condom can still cause irritation.
Another easy tip to maintain good vaginal hygiene is to pee! Urinating before and after sex prevents bacteria build up brought on by intercourse. When you pee, your urine stream instantly cleanses and flushes bacteria that could enter the urethra and cause infections like UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). In fact, peeing before sex can even contribute towards better stimulation because it decompresses the bladder for comfort.
4) Change Period Products Regularly
Using unclean sanitary products and failing to change them regularly can lead to fungal infections, reproductive tract infections, urinary infections, skin rashes, bad odor and even make you vulnerable to infertility.
It is important to change tampons, pads and other period products every 4-6 hours (maximum 8 hours – but we’d say that’s pushing it). No matter how light your flow is, it’s always safer to do a quick clean up and change your menstrual products after a few hours of use.
Lastly, scented pads are actually counterproductive – so avoid them! When your blood mixes with chemical perfumes in period products, it can actually cause a foul smell instead of masking the odor.
5) Avoid Douching
The vagina is actually a self-cleaning organ and using unnecessary cleaning products like douches can be counterproductive. Douches contain certain chemicals which can interfere with your vaginal pH.
Additionally, there isn’t any scientific evidence that douching protects you from STIs and other vaginal infections anyway.
6) Practice Safe Sex
When you have unprotected sex, you run the risk of developing STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, warts, syphilis, HIV and many more. Using protection like condoms, female (internal) condoms and other barrier methods are a simple and effective way to prevent STIs, vaginal infections and unwanted pregnancies.
But before using one, make sure you aren’t allergic to the condom material and ALWAYS check the expiry date.
7) Avoid Tight Clothes & Underwear
Tight clothes and underwear made from synthetic fabrics cause sweating due to reduced air circulation. Additionally, excessive sweating and moisture build up can lead to the growth of bacteria and yeast infections. Avoid wearing tight pants, spandex and wet bathing suits for too long. What’s more, it is advised to wear underwear with breathable fabric such as cotton.
Also, it is recommended to change your workout clothes or any other clothing that becomes sweaty.
8) Keep Your Panties Dry
Not wiping the vagina after using the toilet can cause your panties to get wet, which not only cause bad odor but also turn it into a breeding ground for bacteria. Therefore, you should always make sure you wipe the area with toilet paper or soft cloth so that your underwear remains clean and dry.
9) Don’t Ignore Signs of Infections
If you’re noticing any signs and symptoms of an infection whether it be a bad odor, excessive discharge, discolored discharge, itchiness or any other signs, then contact a medical practitioner immediately. Ignoring an infection can lead to serious conditions – so it’s important that you treat it immediately. Moreover, symptoms like itchiness and pain are also common indications of other serious underlying health conditions.
10) Don’t Self-Medicate
We know that it can be awkward to speak to a general practitioner or gynecologist, especially when it comes to vaginal odor, dryness, itching, pubic-lice infections and more . . . but it is the right thing to do. You may think you have a yeast infection and treat it as such but it could be something completely different and incorrect treatment can actually make it worse. The best thing to do is summon the courage and speak to a doctor about it. These conditions are quite common and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Every woman should follow these basic feminine hygiene tips to ensure a healthy vagina. Help your sisters, mothers, friends and daughters out by sharing this information – you could save someone a lot of agony! In fact, following these tips right from puberty can make a huge difference in the overall health and wellness of women.