Vaginal Hygiene - Advice & Tips for Vaginal Care & Hygiene

Vaginal care

Vaginal hygiene refers to how a woman takes care of her vaginal tissues to maintain good vaginal and pelvic health. Many women are concerned about a variety of issues including smell of the vaginal area and the best way to minimize infections.

Should I be douching to keep my vagina clean?

A woman should probably never douche.  Many health care providers have the opinion that douching may actually contribute to infections by disrupting the natural balance of bacterial environment that are normally within the vagina. There is no need to wash within the vagina and the vagina does not need to be cleansed inside on a regular basis. If there is a bad smell or itchiness within the vagina, it may be caused by an infection and it is important to get a genital examination and evaluation by a health care professional. Too often women self diagnose and self medicate with the wrong treatment. Check with your provider concerning a bad smelling discharge or an odd colored discharge.

What lubricants are safe to put into the vagina?

Most women buy over-the-counter lubricants without much thought and consideration. It is important to read the label of a product that will go within the vagina. Many women prefer organic or water based lubricants for love making. Additives like warming, flavors and colors can also be irritating to the vaginal lining or mucosa. Some women may find that spermicides, or bactericides which can affect sperm and may also be on some types of condoms, can be irritating to the sensitive vaginal lining.

How do I wash inside the vagina?

When showering or bathing, never put soap within the vagina as it may irritate the rugea or lining of the tissues. Prolonged soaking in bubble baths should also be avoided. Wash the hair bearing regions of the outer portion of the vulvar with mild soap and pat the area dry with a clean white towel. Avoid the back and forth motion of rubbing.

Is discharge normal?

Many women have physiological or normal discharge from the vagina and it is often of no concern. Normal discharge can be thin or thick, with or without a slight whitish color. It may change in consistency, texture and even smell throughout the menstrual cycle. Discharge that has a bad smell, is fishy in odor, or has grey or green coloration may indicate that there may be a vaginal infection. It is important to seek medical care and get a genital culture to get a correct diagnosis. If discharge has associated symptoms like burning, irritation or redness, it is also important to seek further evaluation and care as antibiotics or antifungal medication for a vaginal infection may be needed.

Vaginal Self-Exam



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