Keeping your vaginal area clean is something that women don’t often talk about, yet proper hygiene habits are very important for your vaginal health. Many women don’t give their intimate hygiene a second thought, simply include washing their vaginal area in their regular routine, but because the vaginal area can be quite delicate it requires special care.
It is important to keep the pH balance of your vagina, as it is a major factor in preventing infections. The vagina has a slightly acidic pH that helps keep a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria. Upsetting this pH can cause infections such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis (BV).26
Learn more below about washing habits, as well as other aspects of feminine hygiene.
The vaginal area is unique: using soaps and products that you would use for the rest of your body, washing internally (using douches) and over washing can actually cause problems. Because your vagina naturally cleans itself it’s unnecessary to use these products that can upset the delicate pH balance of your vagina leading to vaginal infections.26
Simply wash yourself regularly, normally once daily, with plain un-perfumed products.26 Some products, such as Canesten Sensicare Gentle Refreshing Gelare are actually developed specifically for your vaginal area. They help to maintain your natural pH balance while gently but effectively cleansing your skin. Don’t forget to rinse off the cleaning product after use.64
Always wash and dry yourself properly, especially after exercising. After swimming make sure to change to dry clothing quickly, so you stay fresh and dry and prevent the increase of bacteria that could lead to infection.22
It’s completely normal to produce clear or white discharge. Discharge is your vagina’s natural way of cleaning itself and is a sign of a healthy vagina.26
Healthy discharge should not be smelly or make you itchy or sore. If it changes colour it could be a sign of infection and you may need to get yourself checked out. Changes in amount are normal, and you may produce different amounts of discharge depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. For example, before your period you may get more discharge than normal and it may be thicker in consistency.26
Sex and hygiene
After sex make sure you always empty your bladder.27 Remember – when you go to the toilet, ensure you wash and wipe from front to back. That’s to prevent bacteria from your bum from reaching and infecting your vagina.28
Keeping fit and healthy
If you clean yourself properly and maintain a healthy lifestyle with exercise and a good diet, you’re more likely to have a healthy body and vagina. Exercise helps to tone your pelvic floor muscles and ensure good health.26