There’s a popular saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ From toilet training to showering properly, the million lessons one has to learn all goes for a toss once you hit puberty. Does anybody tell you at this point that Intimate hygiene is more important than ever? Not many. Here’s a fact, lack of intimate hygiene is the most common factor for fungal and bacterial infections amongst both men and women, whether young or adults. Here’s a simple rule of the thumb to keep your genitals squeaky clean and avoid those annoying and sometimes embarrassing visits to the gynaecologist.
WASSUP ladies- Wetness | Available Products | Sex | Smell | Underwear | Periods
Wetness- Vagina is the Queen of Self Cleaning. Lined with a mucous membrane and a mix of various bacterias, called the Vaginal flora (Sounds so exotic!!) it produces a white discharge. This is nothing but the cleansing process in action and discharge being the stuff that needs to leave the “premises” post cleansing. Discharges have a notorious reputation of leaving the vulva area moist, leading to a breeding ground for bacteria to flourish. It is therefore imperative to keep yourself dry at all times. Also, super important, is to wipe yourself after urinating, so there is no wetness lingering on. Always wipe from your front to back, rather than back to front, because any bacteria present in the anal area should not enter the vagina or even be left around your vulva. Lastly, sweating during workouts or summer months can also cause excessive itching, for that let’s move to the next point.
Available Products- The vagina is not intended to smell like a vanilla pod, so please stop trying to make it one. There are many products available such as Intimate Washes, Intimate powders and even Intimate Wipes. Before investing in one, please make sure they contain natural ingredients that won’t mess up the pH levels of the vaginal area, because that’s what keeps it “flora friendly.” Keep away from chemicals, fancy concepts or overly perfumed products like soaps or gels. Trust me, your vagina hates them. Also, do not insert these products internally, they are to be used to keep the vulva area clean. Lastly, if you have any discomfort in the vaginal area, like itching or burning, keep a Vaginal Test Kit handy. These are super convenient home tests that you can take before visiting the gynaecologist. Almost like a thermometer for your vagina, to see if it’s down with fever.. err, infection!
Sex- Yes, we all love sex. And who doesn’t like to lay around for a while and imagine yourself looking like Scarlett Johansson dipped in Prolactin (the sleep-inducing hormone post orgasm). Well, first things first, refrain from Unprotected Sex, which comes with a host of STD’s and secondly, sex whether vaginal, oral or anal, leads to a lot of moisture retention in the vulva/ vaginal area due to the secretion of bodily fluids. The longer they hang out there, higher the chances of infection. Urinating, followed by a warm water clean-up is a good way to get rid of the fluids before you resume your Johansson moment.
Smell- As mentioned before, vaginas are not supposed to smell like roses and daisies. Healthy vaginas have a tangy to sour aroma, like yogurt or any fermented food. This is due to the presence of Lactobacilli which works towards keeping the vaginal area acidic and maintaining it’s pH levels between 3.8 to 4.5. That said, do get to know your vagina better, how it smells from time to time and under different situations such as periods or sex. Lookout for unusual smells like a foul or fishy odor or when your white discharge changes color to grey or green. Any kind of discomfort like itching or burning may need a visit to the doc and get cured.
Underwear- While the models on Victoria Secrets catalogue may look envious to some and you could be “lusting” over those sexy panties, let’s face the reality ladies- a vagina’s best friend is the good old cotton underwear that won’t suffocate your precious real estate. Keep your lacey negligee for the right moments but your cotton ones for daily routine. Also, vaginal discharge may leave your underwear moist, to avoid this, panty liners are your go-to saviors, so invest in a monthly pack and see the difference. Your underwear will last longer, be stain free and thank you for the kindness!
Periods- The time of the month that undoubtedly demands our attention towards keeping our genital area clean. Firstly, pick your menstrual products wisely. Be it sanitary pads, tampons or menstrual cups. Anything with plastic coating or chemicals is bound to cause skin rashes or itching and that’s the last thing you want. A cheap MRP or a famous brand name isn’t everything. Do your research properly. If you can spend thousands on cosmetics, then you can invest half that amount on a brand that cares for your body during periods. Secondly, change/ empty out your pad/ tampon/ cup timely. Make it a priority and stick to it.
While we all pamper ourselves unconditionally, let’s not forget to take care of our precious parts. Make sure you educate your daughters when they are young, so that they grow up as early adopters because intimate hygiene is a way of life, the sooner you embrace it, the happier you’ll be.
Divya Sethi is the curator of both the concept and the blog.