Let’s get to the point straight – “how often do you clean your vagina?”Or, “how concerned are you regarding female genital hygiene?”
Although the modern perception of women have changed a lot, talking about genitals or vagina still remains a taboo amongst the majority in India. Again,while most do not even know that genital care is important, others refrain from speaking about this serious feminine issue.
Well, practically, all these would lead to furthercomplications; courtesy- the least amount of care and more frenzied work schedule. It’s the same for all of us and you too!
First, Know Your Vagina from Science’s Eyes:
Vagina is amuscular, elastic 9 cm long tube which is flexible and provides sensation and lubrication. It is the connector running from the cervix of a female’s uterus to the vaginal opening that is surrounded by vulva (external sex organs).
It includes inner and outer lips (skin folds), clitoris, the urethral and the vaginal openings.
The female vagina has significant role to play –
- Serves as a channel for menstrual discharge.
- Receives the penisduring sexual intercourseand transports the spermsto the uterus.
- During childbirth, serves as the channel to push the baby out from the uterus.
[Note: Most women have the misconception that urine exits through the vagina.However, truth is, it’s the urethra that connects to the bladder and passes urine through the urethral opening placed above the vagina.]
So, a lot of responsibility and there’s a lot to clean too!
Well, your work is half done by the vagina itself – the discharges! However, the rest of female genital hygienecompletes with your support.
A little about the vaginal discharges –
Discharges are a part of healthy vagina. According to experts, “It’s a normal physiologic reaction where vaginal and cervical cells are released.”
Always remember that the very basics of genital hygiene start and end with bacteria. While there are beneficial bacteriaalready in the vagina, your efforts will keep their number balanced for a good health.
Essential Tips of Female Genital Hygiene:
- Wash properly and regularly –
Make this your daily habit – wash your genitals using a mild cleanser which aids in balancing the pH** levels in vagina.
**pH in chemistry is a numeric scale that determines the alkalinity or acidity of an aqueous solution. Human bodies stay balanced when in a narrow range in this scale. However, in case that exceeds, there’ll be an imbalance.
The nether area is extremely sensitive; so make sure to clean gently, especially with lukewarm water (mind you, not hot).
- Throw away those too-tight panties –
Even if those are cotton panties, too tight underwear can restrict your intimate area from breathing. It reduces air circulation leading to bacterial and yeast infections. So, keep those a little loose and make sure they aren’t moving up the crotch.
Also, don’t put on sweaty or wet underpants during night. Wearing that for a long timeincreases the risk of infection and produces a foul odour.
- Take care whileengaging in sexual activities –
Residues from protections and discharge of bodily fluidsafter sexual activities cause odour and infections.
- You can simply wash your genitals with mild soap and warm water post engagement.
- Right before and after sexual engagement, do urinate to flush out bacteria from urethra.
- You can apply a water-based lubricant in vaginal area for easy insertion of the penis.
Consult your gynaecologist for proper advice on female genital hygiene.
What to avoid?
Inserting unclean penis, finger or any object from anus into vaginal opening.This can otherwise cause bladder infection or honeymoon cystitis.
- Always handwash your panties
Washing underpants or soaking them together with other clothes escalates the hazards of bacterial infection. As proper genital hygiene for women is concerned, underpants should be hand washed separately.
- Your pubic hair’s role!
Trimming or complete removal of pubic hair is common among most women today but do you know- these play a role in keeping your genitalia warm?Also, the hair reduces friction with your clothes. Few things regarding this –
- Avoid using hair removal creams as those increase the risk of dermatitis and allergic reactions.
- Cuts and bruises from shaving forman easy entrance for harmful germs,inviting infections.
trimmer is the best option, scissors can be dangerous….and laser removal of hair is an option for people with thick hair, ingrown hair and folliculitis….
Always remember –
- Strictly avoid douching.
- Never scrub your genitals or the surrounding region with harsh surfaces.
- Never wash the interior of your genitals – natural bacteria are there to care for that.
- Heavily perfumed soaps and bathing gels in genitals – Strict No-No!
Do you know?
Sitting in a bathtub full of bubble, soap or shampoo disturbs healthy bacteria inside the genitals. So, prefer ashower instead.
Proper Genital Hygiene for WomenDuring Menstruation:
- Menstruating women must change their sanitary napkins after every 5 to 7 hours. For tampons, the time gap is 2 hours.
- Wearing used napkins can cause odour, rashes or infection.
- In case of heavy flows, you might need to change more frequently; however, during lesserflows, it is better to change the napkins or tampons at regular intervals.
- Wash the blood properly from the pubic area. If you cannot wash at times, make sure to wipe the area at least using tissue before using a new pad.
- Wash in the correct motion – from vagina to anus. Doing otherwise would bring bacteria to the vaginal and urethral openings.
- While on-the-go, be ready with essentials like extra pad in a clean paper bag or pouch, hand sanitizer, paper tissues,drinking water, any antiseptic medication (if any).
What can happen if genital health isn’t taken care of?
Some of the common issues can be itching, irritation, “interesting” odour, burning, etc. More severe vaginal conditions can be –
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Yeast Infections
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Non-infectious vaginitis
- Viral vaginitis
Depending upon your individual condition and bodily requirement, your gynaecologist can best guide you regarding female genital hygiene
In general, visting a gynaecologist once a year for pelvic examination is a healthy practice. Also, women between 25 and 64 must go for cervical screening regularly.
Do you follow that schedule? If no, fix your appointment today with a reputed doctor like Dr. Yashica Gudesar, in Dwarka, West Delhi for all type of your solution to all Gynecological Problems