Like menstruation, vaginal hygiene is a taboo subject in India. Many women still refuse to talk or give advice on how to take care of feminine hygiene. However, it is important to know about vaginal hygiene to keep the genitals clean and the reproductive system healthy. No matter how old you are, there are a few rules of vaginal hygiene that every woman should know!
Vaginal health: Why is it important?
It is rarely talked about, but vaginal health is very important. Ignoring problems related to improper hygiene of the vagina can cause many problems in the future. Neglecting your vaginal health can have negative consequences, from affecting your ability to get pregnant through sexual desire to arousal.
This means that every woman should be aware of the signs and symptoms of vaginal disorders and take important steps to ensure vaginal health.
- Keep your underwear dry
Not wiping your vagina after urinating can cause your panties to get wet, smell bad, and cause a vaginal infection. Therefore, it is recommended to wipe your underwear with toilet paper or a soft cloth to ensure that it is always dry.
Vaginal fluid, or discharge, is part of a healthy vaginal environment. Using products like talcum powder and excessive vaginal wiping can make the vagina very dry, causing itchiness and dryness. It also makes you prone to pain and injury during intercourse. Moreover, a study reported that the use of perineal talcum powder increases the risk of endometrial cancer.
- Change sanitary napkins after 4-6 hours
According to Delhi-based gynecologist Dr Nupur Gupta, women with normal circulation should change their sanitary pads every four to six hours. The same applies to days with light blood flow. However, if you have heavy bleeding during your period, you will need to change your sanitary napkin every 3-4 hours. If you are using a tampon, you should change it every six hours. Also, clean the area every time you go to the bathroom during your period.
If sanitary napkins and tampons are not changed for a long time, there is a risk of skin rashes and unpleasant odors. In some cases, this can put you at risk of infection. Also, some women tend to use reusable pads, so they should be washed and dried thoroughly before use.
- The vagina must be cleaned after intercourse
Make it a habit to clean your vagina after intercourse. Because body fluids and condom particles can cause irritation. Also, not cleaning up after the act makes you vulnerable to vaginal infections. Therefore, you should always clean the vagina with water after intercourse to prevent infections such as urinary tract infections.
- Avoid using soap when washing your vagina
Avoid using harsh soaps or scented soaps to clean your vagina. Using soaps that contain harmful chemicals such as glycerol, perfumes, and antiseptics can affect the healthy balance of vaginal bacteria. It also changes the pH of the vaginal area, which can cause irritation and allow unhealthy bacteria to grow. But to wash the vaginal area, wash with plain soap and water, preferably warm water.
- Avoid washing with water
A douche is a device that drains water into the vagina to clean vaginal secretions. Douching involves the use of certain chemicals that interfere with the pH of the vagina. This, in turn, can disrupt the normal bacteria in the vagina. Moreover, there is no evidence that douching can protect you from STDs or vaginal infections.
- Say no to scented feminine hygiene products
It’s not a good idea to use feminine hygiene products like scented wipes, vaginal deodorants, and scrubs to keep your vagina healthy. In fact, these products make the condition worse and make you more susceptible to infection. In addition, using vaginal scrubs can exfoliate the skin and increase the risk of infection.
- Practice safe sex
Having unprotected sex puts you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Therefore, using protection such as condoms every time you have sex is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal infections, and unwanted pregnancies. But before using it, check if you are allergic to the condom material and choose the right one for you.