vaginal hygiene & health – an introductory crash course

pass this on to spread knowledge whether you have one or not, #save-a-coochie

– the vagina is the tubular ‘internal’ sex organ that some people have.
– the ‘vulva’ is the set of external sex organs that people with vaginas have. it includes (but not only):

  • pubic mound 
  • labia minora and majora (inner/outer ‘lips’)
  • clitoris and clitoral hood 
  • vulval vestibule (found in between your labia minora)
  • urethra (where you urinate from)
  • vaginal opening

-vaginas naturally contain a balance of different bacterias. this bacteria protects the vagina from external bacteria and fungus, provides natural disinfectants and maintains a healthy vaginal pH of 3.5-4.5.

-vaginal pH varies from person to person, day to day, depending on your cycle, your diet and many other external factors,

all vaginas have a scent. all of them. no two people smell exactly the same, and you shouldn’t expect your vagina (or anyone else’s) to smell fruity or floral.

– if your worried about your scent, you can place perfume or an fragrance oil to an area around your vulva but not on it. some places like between your thighs or on your lower stomach, for example,

-your body secretes natural fluids called discharge. discharge is how your vagina self cleanses. it is completely normal and vital to healthy vaginal function.

-discharge can vary in amount, color, texture and scent depending on your cycle. each person is different. if your discharge is unusual or abnormal to you and your unique body, visit a doctor if possible.

-abnormal discharge can be green, grey, very yellow, smelly, itchy, chunky, etc.

-abundant discharge can be annoying. you can remove excess discharge in your shower by inserting one clean finger into your vagina, moving it from one side to another and ‘scooping’ the discharge out. repeat as needed. this reduces the amount of discharge found on your panties and in turn, reduces vaginal scent.

– dead skin cells and oil can build up between your clitoris and your clitoral hood, so it’s important to lift your hood up and rinse thoroughly so it doesn’t harden. 

-washing your “external” vulvar areas such as your public mound and outer lips is okay, though some may find skin here more sensitive.

don’t douche. you may think it helps but it only masks any problems while causing more. douching throws of your flora, alters your PH and forces bacteria into your cervix.

-water and a soft, clean wash cloth is all you need to clean your vulvar areas that contain a mucous membrane. you do not need to wash these areas. applying soaps or cleaners to these areas removes of natural necessary lubricants and bacteria. this may cause irritation, inflammation, major discomfort and dryness. some amount of moistness should always be present.

-a vast majority of vaginal washes, even those touted as hypoallergenic, still contain dyes and fragrances which are known irritants. read the label.

-while Summer’s eve is a lesser of evils with a PH of 3.0 – 3.5 (still not quite correct), it is still a cleanser. vaginal washes are used to cleanse “bad” bacteria from your vulva. they also wash away the “good” bacteria needed to maintain a healthy balance.

-castile soaps (like Dr. Bronner’s) has a pH of about 8.9. these are not suggested.

never insert any cleansing agents into your vagina.

-the information above applies to any gels, deodorants, perfumed products and wipes, too. these can all disturb your natural balance.

-while they still pose a possible risk of irritation, unscented baby wipes are the lesser of evils regarding “freshening up”.

-pay attention to your irritants and triggers. different people, different reactions

-everyone has different stances and different methods that work for them. if you aren’t experiencing vaginal discomfort or odd changes, you don’t have to discontinue certain product use. i do, however, recommend a trial period of leaving these products alone due to their effects on your vagina.

-allow your vagina to breathe. keep too-tight clothing to a minimum. cotton panties are the best option next to not wearing any at all.

-rotate the washcloth and towels you use to clean and dry your vagina.

-urinating after masturbation or sex reduces the amount of bacteria in your urethra.

-wiping ‘front to back’ keeps rectal bacterial away from your vagina.

-naturally, food alters your vagina. balancing your diet in general and including things like pineapples, strawberries, yogurt, soy (the list goes on!) can influence your pH.

-beverages like water, cranberry juice and pineapple juice are also proven to improve vaginal health, and may even improve taste.

-adding a probiotic supplement can increase the amount of “good” bacteria called lactobacillus-your vagina.

-the less ideal your vaginal balance/pH is, the more vulnerable you are to infections and STDs.

-when it comes to internet home remedies, your mileage my vary. try everything with caution and research thoroughly.

cheers! your vagina will thank you.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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