Like any other body part, you should maintain the proper hygiene of your vagina. Maintaining hygiene does not mean that you must smell like fresh flowers all the time. All you have to do is just make sure that you follow simple and effective hygiene practices to keep the vagina clean. Hygiene practices will save you from a lot of troubles related to an unhygienic vagina. The common one being in the form of urinary tract infections. And, of course, you would not want to face any of those troubles.
What to do after urinating to keep the vagina clean?
Wash the vulva with plain water
Several people make the mistake of washing the vagina instead of the vulva. Yes, you should wash your vulva with water and not the vagina. The vulva consists of the vaginal lips and the clitoris that you should wash after urination.
You should also know the reasons as to why avoid washing the vagina. Douching for the vagina is a big no! It can disturb the normal pH of the birth canal (vagina). If you frequently wash the vagina, it causes harm to the good bacteria and may lead to vaginal dryness. And as the good bacteria decreases, the vagina becomes more prone to contracting infections.
Use gentle, mild soaps only if necessary
Sometimes, using only mild soap to keep the vagina clean is fine. But it is not at all fine if you use soap (even a mild one) every time you clean the vulva and the vagina. To use the mild soap properly, open the vaginal lips and clean the folds with your hands gently. Just make sure that that soap does not enter the vagina. Using scented soaps escalates the chances of irritation. Hence, only use non-fragrant mild soaps that won’t disturb the pH of the vagina.
Wipe it and pat dry
Although it is a very simple tip, you must know the right way to wipe your vagina after urinating. The right way to wipe your vagina is from front to back. If you do it the wrong way (from back to front), it can be unhealthy for your vagina. Wiping from back to front can bring unwanted bacteria from the rectal area in contact with your vagina. And it may result in infection of the vagina.
Just one or two wipes are enough to clean. If you tend to over wipe the vagina, it irritates the skin. Sometimes, it may even result in either inflammation or infection. And you should only use unscented wipes to clean the vagina after urinating. The scented wipes can increase the chances of irritation and inflammation of the skin of vulva and vagina. And always keep it in mind to not insert the wipe inside the vagina to clean it.
Avoid excess wiping and washing of the vagina
You do not need to use the wipes and the mild soaps every time. The vagina is self-cleaning in nature, in the form of vaginal discharge. If you try to keep it extra clean after every time you pass urine, you might drag yourself in trouble. Too much wiping and washing with scented products will surely disturb the natural pH. Rashes and irritation are common symptoms you might have to face after too much wiping off and douching.
What to avoid while cleaning the vagina?
- Do not scrub the vulva and the vagina just for the sake of cleaning it. This will do you more harm than any benefit.
- After washing the vagina, only gently pat it dry with the wipe. Avoid rubbing the vagina too roughly.
- Never use a rough cloth or loofahs to clean the vagina.
- Do not use deodorants or scented products to keep the vagina extra clean.
Tips for maintaining the health and hygiene of the vagina
There are some things you can do to maintain vaginal health. Some of the common tips are discussed below.
- After peeing, wipe from front to back.
- Never go from anal sexual activities to vaginal before cleaning.
- Always pee before and after sex.
- Wear cotton underwear to keep your intimates airy.
- Change sanitary napkins regularly, if possible every 4-6 hours.
- Do not douche the vagina with chemicals at all.
- Do not shave off pubic hair.
- Use soft wipes or tissues to wipe the vagina.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothes that can restrict air circulation around the vagina.
- Rinse under-clothes properly with mild detergent.
- Change sweaty or wet clothes as soon as you can.
Always make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly after urinating and cleaning the vagina. Wash the hands with soap and wipe them clean. Plain water does not serve the purpose of getting rid of unwanted bacteria after urinating. Washing the hands properly with soap is even better than just using sanitizer, it does not completely kill the harmful bacteria.
Change your underwear every day for hygiene purposes. Also, you must change the sanitary napkins after 4-5 hours. This will keep your vaginal health safe from unwanted bacterial growth.
If you notice any unusual changes such as rashes, itching, irritation, then reach out to a gynecologist. Other symptoms indicating an underlying infection or problem can be excess or foul-smelling vaginal discharge. Also, if you experience vaginal dryness, then do not leave it unattended. Leaving the above-mentioned symptoms unattended can cause the symptoms to grow severe with time.
Going for self-medication when you face any irritation in or around your vagina can backfire. Popping in medicines without consulting a specialist can cause side effects and allergies.
When to see your gynecologist?
See a gynecologist if you experience one or more of the following signs and symptoms-
- Pain while urinating or during sex
- A pungent and fishy vaginal odor
- Blisters, sores, or warts around your vulva or vagina
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Thick white vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese
- Continuous vaginal itching
- Unexplained bleeding or spotting for many days
It is always a good idea to see a gynecologist near you about your vaginal health if you have any other doubts, questions, and concerns. Also, make sure to undergo regular Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer.