Staying comfortable and healthy down there is not always easy, especially since many of the factors that affect the health and general well-being of your vulva and vagina are strikingly normal—exercise, sex, natural hormonal changes, wardrobe choices and more. In addition to being one of the most sensitive parts of your body, your vagina is home to a special community of bacteria that protect it.
Here are our top seven tips for preserving this important intimate ecosystem for a healthy vagina:
1. Be Wary when Washing: Your intimate area is one of the most sensitive places on your body. Since the vagina is home to a delicate pH balance that naturally cleans it, there is no need to wash internally, such as douching. Keep washing external and use products designed for intimate use that respect your body, or simply stick with warm water.
2. When Your Body Talks, Listen: Pay attention to the signs that something is off. Abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharge, odor, itching and pain may all indicate an infection such as vaginitis, or even a sexually transmitted disease. Never hesitate to consult your gynecologist when things feel wrong.
3. Go to Your Gyno: : It is a good idea for all women when they reach puberty to visit the gynecologist for general information on vaginal health. Once you are sexually active or 21 or older, you should be heading in for a Pap smear every two or three years to check for infections, abnormalities and cervical cancer. No, it’s not the most pleasant appointment on the calendar, but in reality it’s relatively quick and painless.
4. Does Your Vagina Workout?: Yes, this is a real thing. You’ve probably heard of Kegels, but do you do them? Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is essential to a lifetime of intimate health, not to mention the perks of more exhilarating sex and better bladder control. Find out more reasons to start doing Kegels.
5. Commit to Condoms: Condoms not only protect your body from more common sexually transmitted diseases during intimacy, but can also help to prevent other types of vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis. Try to think beyond pregnancy prevention when choosing your protection.
6. Give Your Body Room to Breathe: Wearing tight clothing or materials that don’t breathe, such as polyester, can create a hot and moist area that can cause chafing and irritate your vulva. To avoid irritation or infections, select loose, permeable clothing made of natural materials like cotton whenever possible.
7. Before Getting it On, Go to the Bathroom: Your pre and post-coital ritual should include a trip to the bathroom to pee. Why? Because peeing before and after sex helps to prevent urinary tract infections, which can occur when germs in the vagina are pushed into the urethra during sex. Also be sure to wash your hands before and after intercourse to help prevent the spread of bacteria.
It’s worth repeating that you should contact your doctor if you have any concerns regarding your intimate well-being. Remember that each body is different—an activity, product, piece of clothing or sexual position that is just fine for one woman may create a problem for another. Know that a little discharge and a mild, earthy scent are completely normal. Let your body to be the way it was meant to be, even if it’s not ‘daisy fresh’ or perfectly clean.
See how Kegels help these women have happier vaginas
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.
A collective group of “lady experts” at Intimina who love sharing our personal experiences, even when they are a little too personal. We believe it’s time to start breaking down the taboos around menstruation, motherhood, and menopause, and start owning our female health.