The healthy vagina is slightly acidic and contains helpful bacteria which will maintain the pH levels and fight off infections. Small amount of discharge is also normal for healthy vaginas. The discharge has a similar effect to the saliva, which is secreted to keep the mouth clean. If something’s interfering with these normal conditions, you may experience vaginal irritation or infection. This article will show you what you’re doing wrong with your vagina and how to keep it healthy.
You clean too well
The vulva secretes oils that protect your vagina, and when you scrub them off with harsh cleaners, it becomes more prone to irritation. You will also eliminate the good bacteria that protects the vagina and maintains a healthy pH level. Clean your vagina with warm water and use only your hands, avoiding any chemical-laden feminine hygiene products.
You use feminine hygiene products
Feminine intimate products claim that they clean, deodorize and groom the vaginal area, but you should avoid them completely. They are full of fragrances, chemicals, preservatives and dyes that can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions. The vulvar skin is extra sensitive due to it being thinner than other parts of the body, so exposing it to these substances will surely irritate it. You should only clean your vagina with water.
You haven’t discovered Vaseline
Libby Edwards, MD, chief of dermatology at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, suggests moisturizing your irritated vulva with basic petroleum jelly such as Vaseline. It is cheap and can be found in any drugstore, plus it doesn’t contain fragrances or alcohol.
Wear cotton underwear or go commando
Your vagina wants you to wear cotton panties, which is why any underwear has a cotton patch on the crotch. “Cotton allows your vagina to breathe and absorbs moisture well,” says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D. and a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University. When you’re at home, you can go commando, but don’t go to the gym without underwear due to the germs on your equipment.
You shave or wax
Razors are usually store in a moist part of the bathroom, ideal for bacteria. This is a sure way to get an infection the next time you shave. Don’t throw away your razor, however: just use a natural shaving lotion which doesn’t contain any fragrances and chemicals. Of course, using a new blade for every shave goes without saying.
Waxing and depilation can cause trouble too. The harsh chemicals in depilatories can irritate your sensitive intimate skin, and waxing can burn it. Laser hair removal or trimming with small scissors are the best solutions.
Your laundry smells amazing
Your laundry smells great due to the dyes and perfumes that can irritate your vulvar skin. Choose perfume-less detergents and avoid using fabric softeners and dryer sheets which contain chemicals. Look and buy the “Free and Clear” labeled detergents.
Work it out
Kegels are a great way to strengthen the pelvic muscles and have better orgasms as well as bladder control. Include them in every workout.
Embrace Greek yogurt
Yogurt can boost the live cultures in your vagina, which is great for preventing infections. Just remember to avoid the yogurt full of sugar which will make you more prone to the same infections.
Always go to your annual exam
New guidelines advice women to skip their annual exam if they don’t experience symptoms or are not pregnant, but the exams are not just for the vagina, says Minkin. “I think an annual exam is important for talking about health problems,” she says.
Use this time to talk to your doctor about sex, fertility and condoms or anything that interests you in regards to your vaginal health.