How to Have a Healthy Vagina
Wash with hot water (comfortably hot but not scalding) only. It may seem counterintuitive, but washing your vagina with soap, whether it’s bar soap or liquid, isn’t the best way to keep clean. The vagina actually stays quite clean on its own without the help of outside cleansers.Like other parts of the body, the vagina has a pH level that needs to be maintained within a certain range – 3.5 and 4.5, to be specific – in order to prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria and facilitate the growth of good bacteria. Using harsh cleansers can upset the balance, leading to infection, irritation, and even bad smells.
- People often refer to the entire area “down there” as the vagina, but remember that the vagina is actually the tube-like muscle located inside your body. The vulva, the skin outside the vagina, may be cleansed with no-frills bar soap, as long as you don’t find that it irritates your skin.
- If you do wash your vagina with soap, make sure to thoroughly rinse it with warm water so that no traces of soap are left behind. Soap left inside the vagina can cause irritation.
Have good hygiene during your period. Many women experience an increased rate of vaginal infections when they’re menstruating, since having blood in the vagina changes its pH and throws things out of balance. To stay healthy during your period, practice the following habits:
- Change your tampon frequently. Tampons absorb menstrual blood, and if you leave them in too long, you’re keeping the blood in your vagina where it can change your pH. Make sure you change your tampon every few hours to keep this from happening.
- Don’t use pads or panty liners for longer than necessary. Wearing pads and panty liners all month long or after your period is over can lead to skin irritation.
- Consider getting a menstrual cup. These rubber cups are inserted in the vagina to catch the blood, then rinsed out with hot water every few hours. Menstrual cups are a chemical-free choice for handling your period, and they can be really helpful if you tend to get irritated by tampons and pads.
Wipe from front to back. It’s important to wipe from front to back, rather than the reverse, to keep fecal matter from entering your vagina and causing an infection. Use plain, unscented toilet paper to wipe. Avoid using wet wipes or any other product that contains perfumes and chemicals.
Wash after sex. When you have sex with a partner, you’re opening yourself up to bacteria and other microscopic substances that can end up irritating your vagina and causing an infection. The solution? Wash your vagina with hot water after sex. This will greatly minimize the chance that your encounter will have an unpleasant after effect.
- Asking your partner to wash before sex is also a good idea, especially if you aren’t using condoms.
- Washing other body parts before sex can be helpful, too! If you’re especially prone to getting infections, try taking a shower with your partner before having sex to minimize the risk that you’ll end up with unhealthy bacteria in your body.
- Use dental dams and gloves as an extra form of protection if you receive oral sex or are being fingered.
Pee after sex. At the very least, pee after sex, even if you intend on washing, too. When you have sex, unwanted bacteria can travel up the urethra, which is connected to your bladder. Peeing after sex can help flush the bacteria out of the vaginal area, promoting general health and helping you avoid those pesky