read Genital Hygiene for Women: Dos and Don’ts You Should Know

Genital Hygiene for Women: Dos and Don’ts You Should Know

genital hygiene for women

Genital hygiene for women, though rarely discussed, is of vital importance when it comes to holistic health. A healthy person has certain types of bacteria and fungi present in their genital area. These microbes are harmless and are necessary to maintain the sensitive skin in the area. However, an excess microbe build-up may lead to several conditions such as bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis, or trichomoniasis, which might have long-term health consequences. 

Let’s explore some cleanliness practices to undertake everyday to ensure sound genital hygiene for women. 

1. Wear comfortable undergarments

Your undergarments should be made of comfortable and breathable material like cotton, which also absorbs moisture. Nylon or spandex swimwear may make you sweaty and cause irritation. Make sure that your panties fit right, so you don’t have to keep adjusting them.

2. Keep your undergarments clean

Change your cotton undergarments twice a day or more frequently if you sweat a lot in the groin area. Dry them in the sun after washing. Sunlight has a natural antimicrobial effect due to its ultraviolet component. You may also iron the inner surface of the undergarments before using them, especially if you are suffering from any fungal infection in the groin region.

3. Wipe your vulva 

A wet vulva may lead to microbial growth and infection. That is why you always need to wipe your vulva with a cloth or toilet paper after urinating. It also helps prevent bad odor. Ensure that you wipe from front to back, i.e. from vulva to anus, to avoid bringing the germs from the anus to the vulva, causing serious infections such as bacterial vaginosis, yeasts infections, or even sexually transmitted infections in case of anal sex.  .

4. Change your sanitary pads frequently

Blood can promote extensive microbial growth. You must change your sanitary pad every five to six hours to prevent bad odor, rashes, and other vaginal infections. If your flow is heavy, you may change every three to four hours. The same rule applies to tampons. 

5. Avoid using harsh soaps or antiseptics

Your genital tract contains many good bacteria and fungi, which protect it from the harmful ones, balance the proportion of healthy yeast, and maintain the moderately acidic pH balance of 3.8 to 4.5.

When you use harsh soaps or antiseptics, the pH balance of the vagina may get disturbed. The good bacteria might be wiped off, thereby creating an alkaline environment and a breeding ground for unhealthy bacteria and yeast

Antiseptics may kill the bacteria and tilt the balance towards the growth of yeast, again making the vagina susceptible to different infections. Vaginal douches are also not recommended for similar reasons. A mild, non-perfumed soap or even just plain warm water is ideal to keep your private parts clean.

6. Hair removal

Pubic hair is a protective barrier. They reduce friction and act like a buffer, protecting the genitalia from infections and irritations. Though many women resort to waxing and shaving of pubic hair, this is not recommended as it can lead to higher chances of chemical irritation, infection, and injuries. A trimming of pubic hair at regular intervals is a safer way to keep the area clean.

7. Safe sex practices

Using protection during sex will help you protect your genitalia and avoid diseases such as HIV, gonorrhea, warts, and so on. Make sure you rinse your private area after intercourse, especially if you used condoms. Particles from the condom material may remain in the vagina and cause irritation. Also, ensure that you pee after intercourse. It flushes out infectious bacteria, thus safeguarding the genital system.

A regular and careful cleaning routine is a sound way to protect your genitalia and and maintain a healthy genital hygiene.  

References

1. Nicole W. A question for women’s health: chemicals in feminine hygiene products and personal  lubricants. Environ. Health Perspect. 2014; 122: A70-5.
2. Schild-Suhren M, Soliman AA, Malik E. Pubic Hair Shaving Is Correlated to Vulvar Dysplasia and Inflammation: A  Case-Control Study. Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol 2017; 2017: 9350307.
3. Safe sex. Better Health Channel. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/safe-sex (accessed March 16, 2021).

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