Intimate hygiene is the method of maintaining proper health of both the vagina and the female external genitalia. This set of cares allows the proper functioning and well-being of this body part. However, improper practices or mistakes in the cleaning process can cause the exact opposite.
Getting an infection or altering the vaginal flora can trigger several annoying, uncomfortable, and embarrassing symptoms that may affect your lifestyle. To avoid that, here you can learn what is the best way to perform your intimate hygiene.
The vagina usually secretes discharge, and the color and consistency vary depending on the stage of the menstrual cycle. Normally, in the first 14 days, it is transparent, and in the second half of the cycle, it has a whitish appearance, thick and odorless. The natural function of this flow is to maintain the right conditions for normal vaginal flora. For this reason, it is not necessary or recommended to douching. However, if you notice that your discharge has a different color or a bad smell, it is recommended to see a doctor, as it may be a sign of an infection.
Basic Instructions for Proper Intimate Hygiene
First of all, you need to learn about eight general guidelines to take into account during your day-to-day life that can have a significant impact on maintaining the balance of the female genital area.
- Always clean the perineal area from front to back so as not to drag germs from the anus to the vulva and thus avoid contaminating it.
- Wash your hands and genital area before and after sex to reduce the spread of germs from one genital or rectal area to another.
- Avoid douching (unless prescribed by a doctor) because it can eliminate the microorganisms necessary to protect the vagina and cause dryness.
- Do not use a sponge to clean the genital area because this can be a nest of germs. You should use your fingers and gently pass them through the folds of the labia majora and minor. Do the same around the clitoris.
- You also have to change your underwear daily. It is recommended to use underwear made of cotton and wash it with mild products.
- Avoid excessively tight pants and underwear so you do not suffer any chafing. Also, avoid keeping the area wet for long periods, changing your swimsuit when you get out of the pool or when you get home from the beach.
- During menstruation, change frequently (do not wait more than 4-6 hours) the pads, tampons, or menstrual cups you use.
What to Do If You Get an Infection or Alteration of the Vaginal Flora?
The female intimate area has flora and characteristics which make its care and hygiene different from other parts of the body, which is why you must learn about your genital area and how to care for the intimate hygiene of this area. In case of an infection or alteration in the vaginal flora, you should go to a specialist who will check the situation and give a diagnosis. This specialist will explain to you how to proceed and will prescribe products that provide complete intimate care adapted to the needs of each woman.
When you have an infection, you may need to take antibiotics. In case you have bacterial vaginosis, you can use Wisp products. If you experience symptoms, such as itching in the external area, burning when urinating, or a bad smell, avoid self-medicating since taking the wrong products can cause worse pain. It is also preferable that you avoid homemade recipes.
Your first action when having problems in your intimate area should be to go to a doctor. Although there are benign alterations such as bacterial vaginosis that can normalize after a few days, do not leave it unattended for a long time since doing it could cause complications later.
Care in Special Circumstances
When Having Sex
Whenever possible, it is convenient that you wash the intimate area before and after sexual intercourse. Doing so will reduce the risk of infections. You should also be careful with excessive waxing in the intimate area. Pubic hair fulfills a function, protects the intimate area, prevents clothing from rubbing, and stops sweat.
You should be more careful with hygiene during menstruation, especially when using tampons or pads. Change them frequently, and that will be enough.
Pregnancy is a time of many hormonal changes that may involve a pH alteration in the case of the vaginal area, causing changes in the microbiota, itching, and irritation. Performing the correct intimate hygiene at this stage is crucial since vaginal infections during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.
With the arrival of menopause, there is a decrease in vaginal discharge, an increase in pH, and changes in the vaginal mucosa, favoring the appearance of infections. In addition, on many occasions, menopause can be accompanied by the appearance of some urine loss, making the care and hygiene of the intimate area even more necessary.
These physiological changes induced by vaginal atrophy lead to the development of symptoms such as a sensation of dryness, itching, and even pain during sexual intercourse. For this reason, non-hormonal moisturizers for both internal and external use are usually recommended at this stage.
Showering is not enough. You must set a care routine for the intimate area to avoid infections or unwanted situations. The care of the intimate area should be a crucial part of every woman’s routine. It is necessary to investigate and learn the best way to do it since there are many myths that could affect the correct hygiene routine if you believe them.
Remember to visit a doctor if you experience bothersome symptoms in your intimate area, and buy your medications from trusted brands. When entering a new stage of life, try to carry out a new intimate hygiene routine that suits your needs. Follow these hygiene tips, consult your doctor, inform yourself from trusted sources, and stay safe!