Did you know that your vagina is quite self-sufficient? It’s self-cleaning while also producing bacteria to protect you from infections. However, Choma, as much as your vagina is self-sufficient, there are certain bad habits that could affect your vaginal health and can lead to discomfort and even infections. Here are 10 vaginal health mistakes you need to avoid making.
Growing up, women were always taught to keep their lady parts clean. But apparently, there are many things you can do wrong while trying to keep it clean. It’s not something they actually teach in school, so a lot of girls out there might not be aware that they’re guilty of committing some vaginal cleaning mistakes. Here are seven of them that you should stop doing, stat!
Cleaning the inside of your vagina
You might think that you need to clean the inside of it by douching (squirting / spraying liquids up the vagina to rinse it) or by putting anything up your vagina to clean it. However, doing this could actually have the opposite effect. You could end up washing out the good bacteria (the bacteria that keeps you from getting infections) which would then lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria – putting you at risk of infections. Douching can also cause vaginal dryness.
Not changing tampons and pads often enough
Change your pads and tampons often Choma, to make sure they don’t become a feeding ground for bacteria. A soaked pad near your vagina keeps things warm and moist. Also avoid wearing a pad when you’re not on your period because it will just keep the area around your vulva warm, making it the perfect environment for bad bacteria.
Cleaning With Harsh Soaps
Before you start scrubbing away with a bottle of antibacterial soap, remember this: the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. “Many women have the mistaking impression that the vagina is dirty and needs to be cleaned with harsh soaps and detergents,” Dabney says. “These only irritate the delicate vaginal tissues and kill off the good bacteria-lactobacillis.”
If you do want to use a soap to clean your vaginal area, Dabney suggests thinking of the what products you would use on your face. Most women wouldn’t dare to slather on irritating chemical soaps over their face — the tissue of the vulva and vagina is just as sensitive, so treat them with the same care.
Wearing the wrong underwear
Tight underwear can cause more than just discomfort. If your underwear is tight, it can cause warmth and moistness which is exactly what bad bacteria needs to grow – leading to infections. Also be careful with lace underwear because it also doesn’t allow your skin to breathe, it traps warmth and moisture. Rather wear comfortably-fitting cotton underwear that allows your skin to breathe.
Ignoring the itch
Simply scratching the constant itch doesn’t solve the problem. An itchy vulva can be caused by many things: wearing the wrong underwear, using a certain product, recent sex, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), vaginal dryness etc. Instead of ignoring the itch, it’s best to try to understand what is causing it. If you have an itch that just doesn’t seem to be going away, see your healthcare practitioner at your nearest clinic about it.