By Aaliyah Ransome
Whether you refer to it as your vagina, “va-jay-jay,” “honey parts,”“hoo ha,” “lady bits,” or “lady parts,” feminine hygiene is extremely important. In addition to yearly gynecologist visits (whether you’re sexually active or not), there are many at-home steps you can take to keep your vagina happy and healthy.
Get to know your vagina. Some women are allergic to latex and different materials condoms are made from. Figure out what works best for your body and your partner.
Fruits, vegetables, and yogurts are better options than eating fast food or snacks with no nutrients. Drinking lots of water and cranberry juice keep your vagina at a normal PH level. You should avoid lots of coffee, teas, sodas and alcohol.
When using the restroom, be sure to wipe front to back. Wiping back to front may bring bacteria from the anus into the vagina. Or if you prefer to wipe separately, be sure to wipe your vagina first.
Avoid using soaps and shampoos to wash your vagina. Using warm water and a rag alone will do the trick. You should also avoid using powders that throw of your PH levels. For example, Vagisil powders that are meant to mask odors should be avoided unless your physician advises you otherwise. You should also avoid douches. Contrary to popular belief, many doctors advise against it and prefers your vagina to clean itself.
Wear cotton breathable underwear to decrease the amount of sweat. Also, be sure to wear your size underwear and clothing. Clothing that is too tight doesn’t allow your vagina to breathe and can cause yeast infections.
Too much hair can hold sweat which causes odors. Be sure to trim and keep your pubic hair at a moderate length. Going completely bald exposes your vagina to infection, however, if you prefer to go hairless, Brazilian waxes and Laser hair removal prevents ingrown hairs and hyper-pigmentation.
While on your menstrual cycle be sure to change your pads, tampons, or menstrual cups frequently. For those who wear tampons, make sure you wear the correct absorbency. If the absorbency is too high, it’ll dry out your vagina and cause abrasions. If the absorbency is too low, it will cause accidents and leaks. For those who wear pads, make sure you change your pads frequently. Not only do they hold smells if they aren’t changed frequently, but if your vagina sits in a pad for too long, it can cause infections and abrasions similar to that of a diaper rash. For those who use menstrual cups, be sure to do proper research on how to correctly insert the cups.
Discharge is perfectly normal. It’s your vagina’s way of cleaning itself. Normal discharge is clear and thin. Abnormal discharge has a yellow, green, or chunky consistency, or a fishy odor.
In addition to these tips, you should take the time out to get to know your vagina. Find out what works and what doesn’t work. What may work for one vagina, may not work for the next. A healthy vagina is a happy one.