It should go without saying that good vaginal hygiene practices are an integral part of womanhood. Yet, many grown women are too embarrassed to openly discuss about and learn the proper ways to keep their intimate area clean and healthy.
It is important to understand that the vagina has its own natural self-cleaning process. For a start, the vagina produces clear white secretions from the cervix that keeps itself clean. There are also a lot of good bacteria inside the vagina that maintains its pH balance, produce natural antibiotics, and fight off other harmful bacteria from invading the vaginal wall tissues. Thus, good vaginal hygiene practices are not just about cleanliness, but also maintaining the natural chemical balance that prevents infections and diseases in your private area. Poor vaginal hygiene upsets this delicate balance, resulting in health problems like yeast and urinary tract infections.
Wash, wash, wash!
The simplest way to maintain vaginal cleanliness is just to wash with water during bath time and let the vagina keep itself clean naturally.
Opt for mild and unscented feminine hygiene products. Avoid washing with regular bar or liquid soaps, especially those containing perfume and antiseptic. These products can disrupt the healthy balance of the vaginal flora. The same goes for scented wipes and vaginal deodorant sprays. Harsh chemicals in these products may lead to bacterial vaginosis, which causes itchiness, unpleasant odours and thin gray-coloured discharge.
Stay comfy and clean
When you monthly period rolls around, the vagina’s pH changes due to the presence of menstrual blood, which increases the likelihood of infections. This means it is all the more important to mind your vaginal hygiene. Change tampons, pads and liners frequently, and wash your intimate area thoroughly when bathing. Besides Aunt Flow’s monthly visits, moisture and perspiration can also promote yeast and bad bacterial growth. Hence, it is a good idea to wear dry cotton underwear that allows air to flow freely through the fabric to prevent dampness.
Keeping things from getting itchy
There are some things you can do to keep the “itch” away from your intimate areas. These tips are especially useful if you find yourself experiencing the itch often.
- If you use a feminine wash, choose one that has a pH value that closely resembles the pH in the vagina (pH 3.8 to 4.5).
- Take a probiotic capsule (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus) a day to help maintain a healthy vaginal flora.
- Change pantyliners often (once every 4 hours). You should go without pantyliner for 10-12 hours a day.
Vaginitis, the bacterial infection that causes the itch down there, may affect your chances of becoming pregnant. Therefore, if the itch persists, consult a doctor for advice.