Maybe it was an ad for feminine cleansing products, or maybe you overheard some nasty old jokes. But chances are, at some point, you received the message that vaginas are inherently dirty and gross. Fortunately, there are plenty of people in the medical field who will tell you that this is simply not true. In fact, they're pretty neat organs. With this in mind, however, it's smart to review the vagina care tips no one ever told you.
It's time for straight talk about vaginal care. And the good news is, you don't need any sort of spray, heavily scented soap, or douche to clean up down there. In fact, these extra measures might actually invite infections. That said, there are some easy care tips than can help you keep your vagina happy and free from any problems. Everything from the type of fabric you choose for your underwear to the amount of exercise you get can affect your vaginal health. And there's one common beauty tool you can use around your vulva to help speed up the cleaning process. By taking a look at these self-care tips, both everyday and unconventional, you can make sure your downstairs area is perfectly healthy.
1. Skip Scented Soaps
Sure, that lavender-eucalyptus-coconut body wash is great for the rest of you, but it might not be your vagina's best friend. According to Cosmopolitan, scented soaps may irritate your vagina or even lead to an upset in its pH balance. Mild cleansers are a safe bet.
2. Avoid Perfumes
Seriously, you've probably heard enough jokes about fish for a lifetime, but you don't need to worry about perfuming your entire vulva or anything. (For the record, as long as everything is working properly, it smells fine.) And if something does seem a bit funky below the belt, then you may want to check in with your doctor for something like bacterial vaginosis, as recommended by Self. But a normal bodily scent is nothing to worry about.
3. Don't Worry About Douching
Your vagina is like a tiny oven that cleans itself, and no innovations have improved upon nature. That's why douching is generally a bad idea: it can even spread infections to your vagina, as noted by the Women's Health Foundation. All the cleansing your vagina possibly needs is a little warm water and mild soap on the outside parts only.
4. Make Sure You're Eating Right and Exercising
Because your vagina is so well-equipped to take care of itself, simply maintaining your overall health is one of the best things you can do to care for it. According to the National Health Service, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help your vagina function at its best. Easy enough, right?
5. Befriend Cotton
Your underwear's fabric may affect your vaginal health. Silk or synthetic underwear may retain moisture and lead to yeast or bacterial infections, as noted by the Huffington Post. At the very least, you can look for a pair with a cotton liner.
6. Blow-Drying Is OK
Here's an unconventional use for your Conair. If your vulva is super-irritated, then you may dry it with a blow dryer set to cool, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It's one way to take care of business while avoiding scratchy towels.
7. Watch Out For Antibiotics
Sure, sometimes you absolutely need to take antibiotics to get rid of an illness. But it's helpful to remember that antibiotics can kill off the lactobacilli that help keep your vagina healthy, as explained by Women's Health. So when you're on these meds, it's smart to have a probiotic (such as Greek yogurt) to help keep things balanced, as further noted by Women's Health.
8. Wiping May Be OK
Sure, plain old TP is enough to get the job done, but sometimes it's nice to really feel clean down there. According to Women's Health, you can use wipes if you want, provided you opt for unscented varieties. Hopefully bidets will become more mainstream in the U.S. and replace the need for wipes entirely.
9. Remember — It's Clean
Provided you follow the very basics of hygiene, your vagina is fine. And as Atlanta OB-GYN Dr. Jacqueline Walters told Essence, "it's cleaner than the mouth." The vagina can take care of itself.