GENITAL HYGIENE: Some Myths and Facts
MYTH: Genital area is an unhealthy and dirty area.
FACT: No. Our genital area is totally healthy.It is comprised of good and bad bacteria. In healthy state good bacteria are in abundance and they do not let bad bacteria overgrow which are present their as commensals. But in poor health conditions the bad bacteria takes over the healthy environment and hence we start having infections.[NOTE: Avoid excessive cleaning of any part of your body; if you do you might need some counseling]
MYTH: Young girls should not be taught about genital hygiene, they will learn on their own.
FACT: Talk to your growing teenager; she needs to know some key facts about her genital hygiene. There are people in the society who misguide. Do take her to a gynaec for counselling; she might have her own set of queries which she might not be comfortable to share with you.
MYTH: Go to a gynaec only if you have an infection
FACT: Your gynaec can be approached even for counselling. Do not wait for the disease to happen.
MYTH: Any discharge from vagina is leucorrhoea. Leucorrhea is a disease and will drain your body.
FACT: There is no term as leucorrhoea; females should understand that vagina is not a dry area. It is a moist area which has secretions which come out from the vagina. This is a self-mechanism of cleaning.
MYTH: Every time you go to the toilet you have to wash your private parts.
FACT: No. Excessive cleaning and more moisture in your private parts will lead to more infections. Keep the area dry.
MYTH: You can use any soap in your genital area.
FACT: The sexual organs are the most sensitive part of our body, so it is advisable to use mild soaps, especially designed for the purpose on them. The area gets irritated if you use harsh or regular soaps.
MYTH: Ordinary cleaning agents can kill all kinds of bacteria.
FACT: If you want to kill germs, use anti-bacterial one. Regular soaps do not really kill bacteria; it only removes the germs off the surface of your skin.
MYTH: Your vaginal area is odourless (no smell)
FACT: Vaginal odour is very natural in women. The smell varies during the monthly cycle. It depends on the personal hygiene, hormone levels and other factors. If the smell is too strong approach your gynaec.
MYTH: Vaginal douching (internal cleaning of vagina) is needed to clean your genitals.
FACT: Vagina has a self mechanism of cleaning itself. Cleaning it by external means might lead to several infections.
MYTH: You need sprays, perfumed pads, special soaps, powders to keep your genitals clean.
FACT: They are all companies promoting their products; we do not need anything besides our vaginal wash.
MYTH: Females are only to be treated in vaginal infections.
FACT: Male can also be the source of infection; so he has to be treated also. Even if he was not the source if you don’t treat him he will become a carrier later on infect the female partner again and again.
MYTH: You can continue relationships during infections.
FACT: Avoid relations during infections and when you are being treated.
MYTH: Just take treatment. No need for investigations as advised by your doctor. E.g… PAP test, vaginal swab, colposcopy, cervical biopsy.
FACT: Continuous infections might lead to cancer. Go for it. Prevention is better than cure.
MYTH: Any discharge from vagina is normal. All females have it.
FACT: You are not a doctor to decide what is normal or abnormal so go talk to your doctor; let her decide whether it is normal or not. One should know that discharge is normal until it has smell, causes itching, or is excessive. Even in case of an abnormal discharge you cannot have cancer immediately. It is only if you keep ignoring for a very long time it may lead to cancer. Minor procedures are there to get full cure like cryocautery from chronic problems. Yes only in case of confirmed cases of cancer we go forward with surgery.
MYTH: Any discharge from vagina is abnormal. I have cancer. Now I will be operated.
FACT: As I said earlier get yourself checked and let the doctor decide whether it is normal or abnormal
Beyond these facts if you have doubts consult your gynaec.
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