11 Feminine Hygiene Mistakes Most Women Don't Realize They're Making, But Should

Ad failed to load

No one ever taught me the dos and don'ts of feminine care. Health class in middle school just went over the basics, like here's a tampon and a pad, choose what's best for you. I was left figuring out the rest from there. After more than 10 years, It turns out that I still make a lot of feminine hygiene mistakes most women don't realize they're making. Looking back now, I wish someone would have told me about these mistakes because knowing and recognizing some of these mistakes could've prevented more than one unwanted complication.

From knowing how hard — or not — to wipe yourself after going to the bathroom, to staying in your swimsuit for way too long, or using the wrong kind of soap, there are plenty of common hygiene mistakes that women make on the regular just because we're not aware of the repercussions, many of which can result in the dreaded UTI. The National Center for Health and Statistics showed that UTIs account for 8.1 million visits to the doctor every year — a statistic that's even more common for pregnant women. Knowing and recognizing some of these mistakes could prevent a trip to the doc and that uncomfortable, agonizing stinging associated with UTIs. You could also prevent bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, vaginal cysts, and other nasty complications that no person wants to go through.

Here are 11 feminine hygiene mistakes most women don't realize they're making but should because a healthy hoo ha is a happy one.

Ad failed to load

1You're Cleaning Your Vaginal Cup Wrong


If you opt for reusable vaginal cups when menstruating, the type of soap you use on the silicone material is important. Oil-based soaps can degrade the silicone over time, and scented soaps can cause irritation. MCA Online says to opt for a mild soap for sensitive skin or for babies when cleaning.

2You're Wiping Too Hard


It's been pretty widely written that you should wipe from front to back to prevent fecal matter getting into your vagina. But did you know that you could be wiping too hard? According to Women's Health, you should be wiping firmly but not pressing or rubbing too hard. Doing that can cause small cuts in your anal and vaginal area. Ouch.

3You Don't Clean Up After Sex


Women's health expert and author of She-ology, Dr.Sherry A. Ross told Bustle that cleaning yourself after sex can prevent infections, reduce the chances of getting yeast infections, and prevent vaginal cysts from forming—which are painful beasts to lance and drain. If you can't hop in the shower after sex, then feminine hygiene wipes, a good staple to keep in your purse, are another great option.

Ad failed to load

4You're Panties Are Too Tight


... or your skinny jeans. According to Women's Health, wearing tightly fitting undergarments or pants can increase your risks of bacterial vaginosis, a common bacterial infection that causes discharge and a "fishy" smelling vagina.

Also, according to Medical Daily, wearing non-breathable panties (aka non-cotton) can increase the likelihood of getting a vaginal infection because materials like silk can retain moisture. A warm, moist environment is bacteria's haven. Consider sticking to cotton underwear at the gym and changing after to keep your lady parts dry.

5You Don't Change Your Tampon After Pooping


If the string picks up an fecal matter after, you could increase your risk of infection. It also sometimes gets dislodged or moves after, so you could be uncomfortable if you don't change it.

6You Store Tampons in Your Bathroom


It's a convenient place, but tampons are meant to absorb moisture. The steam from your shower could make the tampon go bad faster because it's absorbing water from your shower. The best place to store them is in a dry place, like your bedroom or a closet away from the shower.

Ad failed to load

7You Stay In Your Swimsuit Too Long


Cute as it can be, a wet swimsuit is a breading ground for yeast, which can cause UTIs or vaginitis, reports Medical Daily. So unless you need to be, you might want to think twice about lounging in a wet swimsuit to extended periods of time.

8You Recycle Your Tampon Applicator


Did you now that once you insert the applicator inside of you, it's considered contaminated? According to Cosmo, who spoke to a U By Kotex expert, tampon applicators can't be recycled. Just like used syringes, they're considered a bio hazard because they have blood and other bodily tissues on them, so they have to be tossed in the trash.

9You're Over-Cleaning down there


Your vagina has natural cleaning mechanisms that prevent infections, prevent harmful pathogens, and protect itself. Over-cleaning your vulva can lead to itching or burning. Also, using perfumed soap or harsh chemicals can lead to irritation. If you're going to wash down there, consider just using water or a non-scented soap. The NHS recommends avoiding any soaps or products with perfumes or antiseptics because they can change the pH levels of your vagina. They also recommend washing just once a day and more than once if you're on your period.

Ad failed to load

10You're Shaving Down There During Your Period


When you're menstruating, your skin is more sensitive. On top of that, MD Tsippora Shainhouse told Bustle that newly shaved skin is more prone to irritation. It's better to wait until your period is on a light flow before having a razor down there.

11You Don't Wash Your Hands Before Intimacy Pleasure — With Yourself Or Others


Your hands have literally thousands of bacteria—good and bad— on them. While everyday germs probably won't harm the vagina, some germs (like those found in dirt and soil) "could theoretically lead to transferring a fungal infection", Ronald D. Blatt, gynecologist and medical director of The Manhattan Center for Gynecology and The Manhattan Center for Vaginal Surgery told Vice. So be considerate and make sure you keep those hands clean for yourself, and your partner.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack