Everyone loves to look after themselves, they may not get the time for it, but inside everyone wants to take care of themselves. As women we love to take time and look after ourselves, which usually includes hair and skin care, but what about down there? That’s right. The very part which distinguishes us from men is often ignored, largely because of the taboo around it. We are here to change that; this blog will help you understand and take conscious steps towards good vaginal health.
What is a Vagina?
Okay I know what you are thinking, “We already know what a vagina is, we have one”. But you’ll be surprised to know how many people actually don’t know what is exactly comprises of and how is it different from vulva (yes, they are not the same thing!). The vagina is the part that connects to the cervix and uterus and is also called the birth canal. The vulva is the outside part which is visible to the human eye. It consists of the mons pubis, clitoris, urethra, labia majora (outer fold), and labia minora (inner fold). These are the parts that protect the clitoris. Now that we have that clear, let’s move on to some health tips for the vagina.
Tips to keep your vagina healthy
Vaginal hygiene and health is a rather new concept but you know what they say, Better late than never. Here are a few tips every woman should know and follow in order to maintain a healthy vagina:
Movies, pop culture, and pornography have given men and women the image that the vagina should “clean” and hairless, almost shiny. But this is completely false. The pubic hair has a purpose. It protects the vagina from external bacteria, thereby eliminating issues regarding sweating and itching (caused by re-growth of shaved hair). That doesn’t mean that you cannot trim it down or shave around the bikini line when throwing on a bikini, just remember to not completely shave the genital area.
2. Scented soaps and intimate washes:
Unlike the rest of your body, the genitals don’t have an extra layer of skin to protect the organ. Hence scented soaps or body washes could be quite hard on that sensitive area, so you want to definitely avoid that. Just lukewarm water at the time of shower will do the job. If you feel unsure about going soap-free then you can try out an intimate wash product but they don’t do anything special, that just plain water can’t achieve.
It is only right that this be the next tip because it is in tandem with the previous tip. For those of you who don’t know, Douching refers to the process of using a devise to spray water inside your vagina to “clean it from within”. This is completely unrequired. If you are doing it, you need to stop asap! The vagina is a self-cleaning organ that doesn’t require any external interference (hence why intimate washes are useless too). In fact, douching adds the risk of washing away all the good bacteria which is actually required for a clean vagina.
Apart from making sex easier and painless, lubrication is important for vaginal health as well. Some medications including birth control, anti-depressants etc, can cause vaginal dryness which will then lead to abrasive intercourse. A lube helps avoid that situation. One should also be on the lookout for ingredients used in the lube. Some ingredients to avoid are Glycerine, parabens, fragrance and flavors, petroleum products and non-natural oils, these products can affect the natural pH levels of the vagina.
5. Safe sex:
USE A CONDOM! It just has to start like that because that is the only important thing to remember. Of course, it plays a huge role in avoiding unwanted pregnancies, but it also plays a role in avoiding unwanted bacteria. Practicing safe sex will also protect you against UTI risks. Practicing safe sex includes peeing after intercourse, getting tested for STIs etc.
6. Choice of underwear:
Something as simple as your choice of underwear can affect your vaginal health. Choose cotton underwear for regular wear, as they are gentle on the genital area and help soak up wetness easily. Going commando is also proven to have many health benefits. So clearly go for comfort over style/fashion when it comes to intimate wear.
Apart from all the tips, the most important one is visiting your gynaecologist regularly. It is not something to be afraid or ashamed about. A happy vagina will lend itself to a happier you from within, quite literally!