Being healthy is something everyone is striving for and, for the most part, you know how your choices affect your body. You know that you're letting down your brain if you don't get enough sleep, and you know that you're letting down your heart when you eat nothing but fried foods and skip exercising. But do you know the ways you're letting down your vagina?
Your vagina is a pretty amazing part of your anatomy and its health should be just as important to you as the rest of your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, problems with your vagina can affect your fertility, your desire for sex, and even your ability to have an orgasm.
I know, you're thinking that you wash it, you keep it clean, and you make sure to do your kegels, but you may not even realize that some of the things you're doing to your vagina in the name of health and vanity are bad for it. In fact, a lot of the products available that promote "vaginal hygiene" are unnecessary and can cause more problems than anything. Turns out that your vagina is pretty independent and doesn't need a whole lot of maintenance. But if you're doing any of these 15 things, it's time to change up your routine for the health of your vagina.
Ignore all of those commercials about douching your vagina because this is a big no-no. According to the Office on Women's Health, doctors recommend that you do not douche your vagina as it can lead to vaginal infections and problems getting pregnant.
2You Insert Things Not Meant For Your Vagina
Tampons, penises, sex toys, menstrual cups -- you know what's allowed up there. But Prevention notes that adding things that aren't meant for your vagina, like food items and other foreign objects, can lead to irritation.
Steaming your vagina may be a trend, but it's not one your vagina is happy about. Women's Health notes that it can mess up your vagina's good bacteria, alter the balance of your hormones, and even burn your lady parts. And the proposed benefits of steaming? Not an ounce of truth to them.
4You Go From Anal To Vaginal Sex
No matter how clean you think you are, going from anal sex straight to vaginal without swapping condoms is terrible for your vagina. Cosmopolitan notes that even microscopic bacteria in your anus can cause a vaginal infection.
5You Don't Pee After Sex
Your vagina is going to be furious if you get a UTI simply because you didn't want to pee after sex. According to Bustle, peeing after intercourse flushes out all of the bacteria that can be near your urethra after sex and is necessary for your vaginal health.
6You Use Vaginal Sprays
Your vagina is self-cleaning, my friend. You don't need to use products to mask your scent or make you feel "fresh" down there. Bustle noted that they can actually upset the delicate balance your vagina already has and make you prone to infections.
7You Wear Tampons For Too Long
Toxic Shock Syndrome is nasty enough, but Hello Flo notes that leaving a tampon in too long can give your vagina a pungent odor and leave you with a watery, brown discharge. Yuck.
8You Wear Pads When You're Not On Your Period
Many women like to wear a pad or panty liner to keep their underwear free of discharge, but it's not recommended. Everyday Health points out that those pads can hold moisture and warmth near your vagina, resulting in an infection.
9You Don't Let It Breath
Believe it or not, your vagina and vulva need to "air out" once in a while, according to BuzzFeed. Go commando or make sure to have light, breathable material for your underwear.
10You Stay In Wet Undergarments
Super sweaty after gym or just took a dip in the pool? Put some dry undergarments on. Popsugar notes that excess moisture and irritation can cause a yeast infection leaving your vagina itchy and burning. No fun.
11You Have Dry Sex
If your vagina doesn't produce enough lubrication on its own, don't be ashamed to pick up a bottle of lube. Everyday Health notes that having sex when your vagina isn't sufficiently lubricated can lead to vaginal tears, abrasions, and cuts.
12You Wipe Back To Front
Seriously, I thought everyone knew this, but after doing a little research, apparently it bears repeating. If you're wiping back to front, you're doing your vagina a huge disservice. You should always wipe front to back, starting with your vagina, to make sure you don't introduce any fecal matter or germs into your urethra, according to Women's Health.
13You Have Unprotected Sex
Unprotected sex may lead to pregnancy, but it can also lead to STDs which are a major let down to your vagina. Wrap it up, ladies.
14You Don't Change Your Underwear Regularly
OK, I'm not saying you have to change your underwear three times a day, but wearing dirty underwear can cause serious irritation to your vagina. As bacteria builds up in the lining of your underwear, Bustle notes that it rubs up against your skin and can make you itchy and uncomfortable.
15You Try To Tan It
I'm all for soaking up some vitamin D, but keep your bottoms on while you're outdoors. The rest of your skin is already susceptible to sunburn, but imagine trying to tan your vagina, a body part that is usually covered up and is made up of extremely sensitive skin? Even with SPF, Women's Health notes that it's highly likely that you'll burn your lady parts and holy sh*t, your vagina wants none of that, OK?