Maintaining your vaginal health is an important part of your self-care routine. A healthy vagina free of unwanted bacteria can help reduce your risk of infections and promote a clean bill of gynecologic health. While your vagina is surprisingly easy to care for, there are a few things you can do to keep it clean and comfortable. Start with these vaginal hygiene tips:
- Wear breathable underwear and clothing
- Avoid douching unless prescribed by a doctor
- Use gentle, unscented soaps (externally only)
- After swimming, dry and change quickly
- Change feminine hygiene products frequently
- Monitor any changes in discharge
- Schedule regular visits to a women’s health provider
Read more below about how you can protect yourself from vaginal health issues.
Wear breathable underwear and clothing
Finally, a reason to wear more sweatpants! Everyone knows how good it feels to come home and finally take off those tight pants – and your vagina appreciates the reprieve too. Wearing tight clothing can raise your risk of yeast infections by creating a warm, moist environment, so it’s best to make sure you have some breathing room. Well-fitting cotton underwear and breathable bottoms are your best bet.
Avoid douching unless prescribed by a doctor
Your vagina maintains its pH balance by self-cleaning with its own natural secretions. But the delicate balance of good bacteria can be disturbed when you “wash” the inside of your vagina with douching products. Even though it might seem like soap and water would make you feel clean, it could actually lead to vaginal health issues like infection or even pregnancy complications. Unless prescribed by your doctor to treat an existing condition, avoid using a douche and rely on your body’s natural cleaning abilities.
Use gentle, unscented soaps (externally only)
Regularly use gentle soap and water to clean the external parts around your vagina, taking care not to wash internally. Opt for unscented soaps to avoid possible irritation that chemically-manufactured fragrances can cause. For added protection, ensure your shower or bath water isn’t too hot and all the soap is washed off before patting dry with a soft towel.
After swimming, dry and change quickly
Dampness is a perfect environment for vaginal health issues, like yeast infections that are caused by an overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast. After you swim or work out, avoid staying in your wet clothing too long. As soon as you can, towel off and change into clean and dry clothing to keep your vagina cool and dry.
Change feminine hygiene products frequently
When you have your period, it’s important to swap out tampons and pads regularly. Aim for every three to five hours when wearing a tampon, or more often with a heavy flow. With pads, use your best judgment to keep them fresh, making sure to change them before they’re too saturated.
Monitor any changes in discharge
Vaginal discharge is normal. By familiarizing yourself with your various types of discharge and what they mean, you can stay on top of your gynecologic health. See your doctor right away if you experience abnormal changes in color, texture, or smell. The same goes for any itching or pain.
Schedule regular visits to a women’s health provider
Regular visits to your gynecologist can help you catch vaginal health issues early. Aim for yearly pelvic exams, which will often include a Pap smear based on a schedule tailored to you.
With these vaginal hygiene tips and routine visits to your women’s health clinic, you’ll be doing your part to promote a healthy you. Call (920) 885-6090 or schedule an appointment online with our doctors and women’s health team today!