Vaginal health isn’t a topic that needs to be relegated to whispers in backrooms or only discussed when there is a problem with dryness, itching, soreness, smelliness…you get the point! Our vaginas define our femininity and deserve thoughtful consideration.
It’s time to embrace and lovingly care for your vagina. Like Cameron Diaz said, “You’re supposed to treat it like the beautiful delicate flower that it is. And you’re supposed to nurture it in all the ways that it needs nurturing.”
With a bit of attention, your vagina can easily stay clean, fit, and healthy.
While there are a variety of products that claim to keep your vagina clean, there is no better cleansing solution than water. Just water – no soap, no wipes, no additional products.
Your vagina is a self-cleaning organ with a fragile eco-system. Chemical wipes, soapy solutions, and vaginal cleansers can disrupt your vagina’s natural environment and lead to infection. You don’t need fancy products to keep it clean.
However, if you really believe a more thorough cleansing is necessary, try a very gentle soap for cleaning the outside of your vagina, change your underwear more frequently, or talk with your gynecologist about the possibility of using a douche. DO NOT use a douche without the supervision of a gynecologist.
Changing your underwear more frequently, double washing your undergarments, switching to a more gentle detergent, and avoiding wearing thongs daily can also help to keep you feeling fresh and clean.
Pubic Hair Removal
Waxing your pubic area is a fairly common practice in 2019. In fact, 84% of women say they remove their pubic hair in some way, with 59% saying they remove their pubic hair because it is unhygienic, according to Self.com. In reality, pubic hair is not unhygienic. Pubic hair serves a valuable purpose; it wicks away moisture, reduces friction, and protects the vagina from bacteria and other harmful pathogens.
Pubic hair removal can be safe provided you are mindful about the process:
- Be careful when waxing as burns or skin damage can occur.
- Monitor your pubic area after waxing for in-grown hairs as these can be very painful and can also cause infection if left untreated for too long.
- If you shave or trim your pubic hair on your own, watch out for cuts and scrapes as they can easily become infected and cause abscesses.
Ultimately, when it comes to pubic hair removal, caution is key. Be mindful of how your vagina looks and feels after removing hair. Contact your gynecologist when necessary.
Your pelvic floor muscles are not typically part of a regular workout routine, but it is time they should be! Kegel exercises can help with bladder incontinence, bowel control, improve vaginal lubrication, and increase sexual arousal.
There are many different Kegel exercises to choose from. First begin by locating your pelvic floor muscles (the correct muscles are those that stop urine mid-flow). You can practice locating your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop the urine mid-flow during a trip to the restroom However, do not continue to exercise by stopping your urine mid-flow as it can cause the incomplete bladder emptying. Once you understand what muscle you need to target, switch to another exercise method.
For example, with an empty bladder, sit and tighten the pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds at a time relaxing in between. Many women find it helpful to exercise while lying down. Another Kegel exercise you can try is to insert a clean finger into the vagina and tighten your pelvic floor muscles around it, holding for 10 seconds or so at a time.
Looking for a wider variety of exercises? For more information on Kegel exercises and how to locate your pelvic floor muscles, check out Healthline.com.
Gynecologists agree that the best way to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease is to use a condom during sexual activity. While there are other options for safe sex, condoms are the most effective and simplest solution. Interestingly, condoms not only protect you from disease, but also keep your vagina’s pH level constant during sex. This allows the healthy bacteria that prevents UTIs, yeast infections, and harmful bacterial growth to grow and thrive. Really, condoms are a win-win for your vagina, according to a study from PLOS One.
Vaginal health and disease prevention require regular visits to the gynecologist. Many of us don’t look forward to that yearly visit, but regular check-ups are an important part of your wellness routine. If you don’t have a doctor, or if you are looking for one who is a better fit, check out our 4 tips for Finding the Right Gynecologist.
Tying it all together
Vaginal health does not have to be a chore. Embrace your femininity and invest some time into the health of your vagina.