Growing up, you probably learned or adopted some personal and vaginal hygiene tips from your mom and even your environment; things you may have heard from a friend (who probably swore that feminine washes are great for your vagina – they are not) to television shows you may have watched where you unknowingly picked up something about your vaginal health.
What actually inspired this article was the fact that, these days I hear women swearing by certain things and products that are actually bad for down there and could be inhibiting a healthy vagina.
In this article, I’ve narrowed it down to 10 feminine/vaginal hygiene tips every woman should know because to be honest, some of what we were taught and learned can actually cause more problems than we think.
Always Choose Natural Fabrics, Particularly Cotton
Similar to the lips on your face, your vulva is a very sensitive and delicate area. You will always want to treat it gently and with care. There’s no denying that there are so many cute underwear options in a variety of fabrics, but what you should know is, cotton is the best underwear fabric. Its breathable, simple and the most important, absorbent.
You know how its perfectly normal to have vaginal discharge? Thats why you want underwear that can easily absorb all that moisture. Materials like spandex and nylon easily trap heat and moisture because they don’t allow the area to breathe, making it easier to get a yeast infection which is never fun.
Your Vagina Will Always Taste and Smell Like Vagina, No Matter How Many Pineapples You Consume
Every woman has a natural taste and a healthy vagina doesn’t taste like flowers, rainbows or even perfume, it tastes like vagina. And that can be sweet, sour, metallic, sharp or acidic depending on where you are in your cycle. When you have a healthy vagina, any fruits or foods you consume to make it taste better will only have a minimal effect.
The only thing that can change the taste of your vagina is your menstrual cycle, and you can’t control that. When your vagina pH is disrupted, it can lead to an infection like BV (bacterial vaginosis) or yeast infections, which will then cause your vagina to taste like, well.. infected vagina. It just won’t taste or smell right and if you pay a lot of attention to your vag (which you most definitely should), you’ll know. It will smell like rotten fish and spoiled meat, for example.
Products Marked ‘Feminine Hygiene’ or Claiming to be pH balancing Are Actually Bad For Your Vagina
I’ve always had my reservations about “feminine/intimate washes” and when I was 18 years old or younger, I remember talking my best friend out of purchasing one, mostly because I knew then that the vagina can manage its own pH and doesn’t need to be pH balanced. But before this realization, I remember buying one and quickly discarding it because for some reason, it just never felt right.
According to Medical News Today, study has found an association between the use of intimate washes and a 3.5 times higher risk of bacterial infections, and a more than twofold higher risk of having a urinary tract infection (UTI). When it comes to keeping the vagina healthy, it is best to let your vagina clean itself (its self cleaning, thats what it does!) but we’ll get to that.
Wipe Your Vagina & Anus Seperately – Front to Back If You’re Peeing
You always want to remember to wipe your vagina and anus separately, after pooping and after peeing. What this means is, you wipe one area and discard of the tissue paper and then wipe the other area. And if you’re just peeing, always wipe front to back.
You don’t want to contaminate the urethra with anything from the rectum, because this could lead to a UTI.
Girl, Always Pee After Sex
Its that simple. The only thing that should be on your mind after getting your back blown out, is to pee.
Peeing helps to clean out any bacteria that may have gotten into the urethra during sex, which may help reduce the risk of a UTI.
Wash Your Vulva, Not Your Vagina
You know how I said the vagina is a self-cleaning machine? Well, yes it is but the vulva isn’t.
Quick anatomy lesson: The vagina is the internal part of the genitals. You know, where things like tampons, dick and dildos go. While the vulva is the external part of the genitals, which includes the clitoris, inner and outer labia, the public mount and the vestibule.
So yes, the vulva is skin and skin needs to be washed like any other skin on the body. A soap that is fragrance free and mild, mixed with water and your fingers while bathing, is more than enough.
Go Commando Sometimes, Most Especially When You’re Sleeping
I actually didn’t know until recently that there’s a lot of debate around whether or not going to bed underwear free is a good choice. I mean, who doesn’t like to go to sleep feeling comfortable and relaxed? to me, its synonymous to wearing skin tight jeans to bed, because both are just super uncomfortable. Going commando to sleep not only allows your vagina breathe overnight, but it exposes it to air keeping moisture from building. If you don’t like going to bed without wearing underwear, I’ll at least suggest wearing loose pyjama bottoms, as long as you do your laundry regularly.
You Should Have A Diet That’s Rich In These Foods & Fruits
What we eat and drink affects our vagina and vulva, the same way what we eat and drink affects all parts of our body and our overall health. To maintain the most excellent vagina and vulva health, you should have a diet that is rich in vitamin E, vitamin C, antioxidants, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids and protein. So foods/fruits like:
- Salon & Sardines
- Fish & other seafood
Maintain Regular Gyne Checkups
Routine health checkups with your doctor or gynecologist is very necessary. Tests like pelvic examinations and PAP smears should be done at least annually.
Always Listen to Your Body
I saved the best for last. One of the reasons why you should always pay close attention to your vagina, particularly the way it looks, smells and feels is because, you’ll be very aware if something seems off.
Touch yourself and even finger yourself sometimes, pay attention to your discharge, smell your underwear most especially the crotch area, take a closer look at your vagina using a hand mirror and of course, regularly go to your doctor.
Do you have any vaginal hygiene tips of your own? Share in the comments with us! ✨
Words by Fifunmi Osinubi