Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organization, “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” Personal hygiene refers to maintaining the body’s cleanliness. A healthy mind and body does not stop at being sane and disease- free. Being healthy also means feeling great and comfortable all day long. One of the basic ways to ensure a fresh feeling every day is to maintain a good personal hygiene. No matter what age you are or what you like to do with your body as a woman especially with your genitals, is a serious matter. There are lots of simple ways to keep the most essential part of your anatomy healthy. Incorporating feminine hygiene into your daily routine will keep it happy, allowing you to enjoy a comfier and healthier life.
The word “douche” means to wash or soak. Douching is washing or cleaning out the inside of the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids. Most douches are sold in stores as prepackaged mixes of water and vinegar, baking soda, or iodine. The mixtures usually come in a bottle or bag. A recent analysis of this practice shows that vaginal douching increases your risk of developing bacterial vaginosis by 1.2 to 5.1 times. On the scarier side of things, it increases your risk of cervical cancer.
A popular reason for using vaginal douching is to clear away menstrual blood. Understandably, you want to stay fresh during your period. A better way to approach this is to run clear water over your vulva/external genitalia, change your tampons regularly, and wear breathable panties.
Embrace Healthy Cleaning
A vagina is a self-cleaning machine which doesn’t need to be douched to be rid of germs and bacteria. Both soaps and douches destabilize the pH balance and can cause bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis feels itchy and is accompanied by thin, gray-colored discharge as well as a fishy smell, The vagina has a natural discharge and oils. In reality, these are not bodily waste products and are, in fact, important in keeping the vagina protected against infections. Having these natural discharges is actually a natural process wherein the vagina self- cleanses its surfaces. Excessive washing and using feminine wash and soap strips the protective barrier created by the discharges.
Ensure Menstrual Hygiene
Effective menstrual hygiene is vital to the health, well-being, dignity, empowerment, mobility and productivity of women and girls. Poor menstrual hygiene may cause stigma and ill health. Menstruation is a taboo subject across the world, which can lead to misinformation and the promotion of dangerous menstrual hygiene practices. During menstruation, it is natural that a woman feels uncomfortable especially with the wet and potentially bad smell feeling. A lot of women do douching to clean even inside the vagina to really have that clean feel. However, douching pushes bacteria and other menstrual debris back into the reproductive tract. This will ultimately lead to developing pelvic inflammatory disease that is very painful.
What a woman must during the red flag days is to cleanse the genitalia with warm water and mild soap just like on normal days. In choosing pads and tampons, it is best to choose unscented products to avoid exposing the genitalia to a lot of chemicals.
Shaving Vital Areas Can Be Helpful
Pubic hair styles—and how we deal with them—have changed radically over the years. From rocking a full bush to trying a bare Brazilian, we have pretty much tried it all. In fact, 84 percent of women style their pubic hair, according to one study in JAMA Dermatology and most do it themselves at home. According to GirlsHealth.Gov, your pubic hair play an important role in protecting your labia against abrasions. So, you may want to consider trimming rather than a full shave.
On the other hand, Ask Alice at Columbia University explains that shaving often heightens sensations for women. So, if you decide to shave it all away, try the following:
Do it in the shower, but towards the end when your pores are open. This makes it easier for hairs to come away. Always use a clean razor and never share razors. Sharing increases the risk of catching a blood-borne virus from someone else. Soak in the tub for at least 5 minutes to soften the skin and pubic hair before you shave. Apply shaving cream or gel with aloe vera or another soothing agent (made for women) over all the areas you plan to shave.
Use a shaving cream or lubricating gel that reduces the friction between your razor and your vulva. This reduces the risk of cuts. Go slowly. Don’t rush the process. Cut avoidance is key.
Always Go for Cotton Underwear’s
Maybe you prefer satin or nylon, and that silk thong sure may look sexy, but your skin is definitely not loving it. The best fabric for your vagina is cotton, which is why most undergarments have a strip of cotton in the crotch area. Cotton lets your vagina breath. Cotton underpants are highly recommended and so are those with cotton crotch linings. Do not wear wet bathing suits for a long period as well as leather pants, spandex, and other tight clothing.
Ensure proper Odor Care
Changes to body odor may be due to puberty, excessive sweating, or poor hygiene. Sudden changes are typically caused by the environment, medications, or foods that you eat. However, body odor, especially sudden and persistent changes to your normal odor, can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition. Every woman has a unique natural scent. This odor is healthy and naturally occurring in every woman’s body. The use of feminine sprays and deodorants are promoted to cover up that smell but you must know that using it will not make the smell go away. It is only masking the natural smell but it is still there. If you must know, this smell does not go beyond your clothing and is rarely detectable to the people you are with. If you think you have an abnormally strong scent or that it smells fishy down south, then it is most likely that you are suffering from a genital infection like vaginosis. A woman’s vagina is naturally filled with bacteria but when there is an overgrowth, the condition is called bacterial vaginosis and causes a “fishy” odor. Not all vaginal odors are caused by an infection.
Eating and Hygiene
Women, like men, should enjoy a variety of healthful foods from all of the foods groups, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean protein. But women also have special nutrient needs, and, during each stage of a woman’s life, these needs change , what you eat or drink also affects your feminine hygiene. Junk food and fried foods may make you feel happy but your internal body suffers and is damaged. It is evident on your discharges like sweat and genital discharges that smell off. Fresh and healthy foods, and a lot of water, however, will keep your discharges maintain its natural pH thus keeping everything balanced and smelling natural.
Use a lubricant, if you need one
Vaginal dryness can occur for a whole host of reasons. Although it is not associated with significant health consequences, it can be a source of discomfort. According to Medline Plus, it is predominantly caused by a decrease in estrogen. While menopause commonly leads to estrogen levels to drop, in some cases (among others), stress, depression, chemotherapy, and intense exercise could play a role.
If this happens to you, your sexual drive or desire to have sex might fall. If you’re simply not up for it, that’s fine. However, if it’s just vaginal dryness holding you back, there is an answer.
Using a lubricant allows you to enjoy sex, without discomfort. Use one that’s pH friendly to keep your vaginal canal happy. Doing this reduces the risk of internal cuts, allowing you to enjoy sex safely.
Practice safe sex
Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections, especially HIV. “Safe sex” is also sometimes referred to as safer sex or protected sex to indicate that some safe sex practices do not completely eliminate STI risks. Unless you’re in a relationship where you have both been given the all clear by a sexual health specialist (or other medical specialist), use barrier contraceptives. The same applies to any oral activities, as diseases such as gonorrhea or herpes can also spread that way. The American Sexual Health Association estimates that one in two adults will contract an STI by their mid-twenties. Engaging in safe sex prevents you from falling within that statistic.For any other question, please speak to a medical professional. This article is written solely for informative purposes and should not be a replacement to a medical specialist’s advice.