While the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to pay attention to intimate care.
Vaginal infections are incredibly common in women, especially those who are in a sexual relationship, so you need to make sure that you are keeping your vagina healthy.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by having a good intimate care routine.
Read on to discover:
- What is good vaginal health?
- Why is intimate care important?
- Why do vaginal infections happen?
- What does healthy discharge look like?
- If bacteria is good for the vagina
- How to get rid of vaginal dryness
- How to wash your vagina and vulva
- Vaginal douching – is this safe?
- What are the best intimate care products?
- Safe sex and intimate care
- Cervical screening and intimate care
- Intimate care FAQs
What is good vaginal health?
Although the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, it is prone to infections and irritations. This is because the vagina has a very specific environment that needs to be maintained.
More specifically, your vagina contains a balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria. However, if you experience a growth of bad bacteria, your vagina may become susceptible to infections and inflammation such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections.
Vaginal health also encompasses other factors such as your pelvic floor, which can be maintained by exercise, like walking and running, and overall good health.
Why is intimate care important?
As mentioned above, most women experience some form of vaginal discomfort or infection during their lives. Although some irritations can clear up on their own, many require treatment, either over-the-counter or from a GP.
If left untreated, vaginal infections are likely to worsen and can lead to other, more serious health problems.
However, by having a good intimate care routine, you are more likely to spot an issue before it gets too problematic, and you are less likely to experience vaginal discomfort in the first place.
If you notice any changes to your vaginal discharge, such as a change in colour or consistency, it can be a good idea to make an appointment with your GP or nearest sexual health clinic. This is particularly important if you have any other symptoms such as a bad odour, vaginal itching, soreness, pain when urinating, or abdominal pain.
Why do vaginal infections happen?
Vaginal infections are very common and are not anything to be ashamed about. Although they can occur from unsafe sex or poor hygiene, some women are simply more susceptible to vaginal infections than others.
Most commonly, vaginal infections are caused by bacteria, funguses, or organisms within the vagina that have grown uncontrolled. Every vagina has organisms that live within it, and these coexist with each other quite happily. However, if the bad bacteria start to grow too much, then infections can occur.
The most common vaginal infections are bacterial vaginosis (BV) and thrush.
What does healthy discharge look like?
Vaginal infections are very common and are not anything to be ashamed about.
One crucial aspect of intimate care is to be vigilant about your vaginal discharge and secretions.
Vaginal discharge is completely normal and helps to protect your vagina and keep it clean. However, if your discharge suddenly changes, either in colour or consistency, this can be a sign of an infection.
Normal discharge tends to be either clear or milky, although it can change throughout your menstrual cycle, as well as during pregnancy and menopause. Healthy discharge should not have a strong odour, and you should not feel any itching or soreness around or inside your vagina.
If you notice any changes in discharge, such as it becomes yellow or green or it has an unpleasant odour, this can be a sign of an infection or sexually transmitted disease.
Is bacteria good for the vagina?
Your vagina houses lots of different types of bacteria, and these are there to help protect it. In fact, after the bowel, the vagina has the most bacteria out of every organ in the body.
The good bacteria in the vagina help to keep the vagina’s pH balance, which, in turn, keeps your vagina healthy. It can also help to kill other bacteria that enters the vagina.
However, if the balance between good and bad bacteria shifts, and you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your vagina, then inflammation and infections can occur.
The normal pH of the vagina should be less than 4.5. If this increases, infections such as bacterial vaginosis and thrush are much more likely to happen.
How do you get rid of vaginal dryness down there?
Vaginal dryness is another common affliction in women, especially those who are going through the menopause or who are post-menopausal.
Vaginal dryness can be caused by a number of factors, but most commonly, it is caused by a reduction in oestrogen levels within the body.
It can be beneficial to engage in more foreplay before penetration and to explore any mental health issues that may be affecting your arousal levels and the way that you are intimate with your partner. Treatments are also available to help combat dryness.
How to treat vaginal dryness
There are several treatments for vaginal dryness, including over-the-counter products such as Multi-Gyn LiquiGel, oestrogen creams and water-based lubricants.
How to clean your intimate area
Women often get confused between what the vagina is and what the vulva is, but it is important to distinguish between the two, especially when it comes to cleaning your intimate area.
What is the vulva?
The vulva is the area that lies outside of the vagina and includes the folds of tissue known as the labia. The labia are made up of two parts: the labia majora and the labia minora.
The vulva also contains the mounded area made by the public bone, the clitoris, and the urethra.
What is the vagina?
The vagina is part of the female genitalia and starts from the inner part of the labia and ends at the opening of the uterus, known as the cervix. The vagina is self-cleaning, whereas the vulva requires care to keep it dry and free from irritants.
How to take care of your intimate area
- Use warm water to wash the vulva daily. Dry gently with a clean towel.
- Wear breathable cotton underwear.
- Avoid wearing thongs or G-strings.
- Do not use too much detergent when washing your underwear.
- Use a mild soap when handwashing your underwear.
- Do not use scented tampons.
- Do not leave tampons in overnight.
- Avoid scented feminine hygiene products.
Vaginal douching – is this safe?
If you notice that your vagina has an unpleasant smell or an unusual amount of discharge, you may be tempted to douche. This involves flushing water up into the vagina in order to clean out any vaginal secretions.
Try vaginal douching with a product like Multi-Gyn Vaginal Douche and tablets. Douching is often not necessary, but it can be helpful in certain situations in moderation
What are the best intimate care products?
When it comes to intimate care, the market is flooded with products, so it can be hard to know which ones to use. Although each woman is different, and what might work for one will not be suitable for another, there are certain intimate care products that are known for being both safe and effective.
If you want to know the answer to “how to get rid of dryness down there”, then you need to know about vaginal hygiene moisturisers. These are designed to keep your vagina moist without causing any irritation and are safe to use.
You can find a vaginal moisturiser for your intimate area that doesn’t contain hormones such as Multi-Gyn LiquiGel, and these are designed to be applied to the inside of your vagina. You can also find external creams that you apply to the vulva area.
pH-balanced feminine washes
If you are prone to vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis and thrush, then a daily feminine wash such as Multi-Gyn FemiWash, can help you feel fresh and reduce the risk of getting future infections.
These pH-balanced feminine washes are designed to help maintain the right pH level in your vagina and will not irritate your vagina’s sensitive skin. These can be used daily in the bath or shower and should be applied to the vulva, not directly inside the vagina.
Intimate care wipes
Sometimes your vulva needs a little extra cleaning. This may be because you are on your period or you have just had sex. For times like these, intimate care wipes are a great choice such as Multi-Gyn IntiFresh.
These products are specially formulated to clean the vagina. They are suitable for the sensitive skin around the vagina.
How to keep intimate hygiene standards high when having sex
STDs can get into your vagina when you have sex with a partner that is infected. These can cause infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital warts, and HIV.
The simplest way to avoid these infections is to always practice safe sex. This means using a condom every time you have sex.
If you are in a long-term relationship and you both have regular STD tests, then you can enjoy sex without a condom. However, it is worth noting that you can still get other vaginal infections such as BV and thrush.
Cervical screening and intimate care
In many countries, women aged above 25 are invited for regular cervical screening. This screening helps to detect any abnormal changes in the cervix which may indicate cancer. As part of your intimate care routine, you should attend your routine cervical screening appointments.
Check with your healthcare provider to get details of your rights for cervical screening in your country and region.
Intimate care FAQs
How to clean intimate hair?
To keep your intimate hair clean, wash it with warm water. You do not need to use soap as this may cause irritation to your vagina. You can find intimate oils that are specially designed to be used on your pubic hair.
How to take care of intimate hygiene
You can use several intimate products to keep up with your hygiene standard practices but also ensure that you are not causing any problems. Good intimate products include moisturises, wipes, and washes.
How do I keep my intimate area fresh?
You can wash your intimate area with either warm water or specially formulated intimate care products. These are designed to maintain the natural balance of the vagina and will not cause any irritation.
You should not use scented soaps or washes on your intimate area as this can cause infections or inflammation.
Can intimate wash be used daily?
Yes, intimate washes can be used daily. These are designed for external use only and should not be applied inside the vagina. Look for an intimate wash that helps to promote the right pH balance in the vagina.
Is intimate washing harmful?
If you use the right intimate care products, intimate washing is not harmful.
How do girls clean intimate areas?
You can keep your intimate area clean by simply washing daily with warm water. Alternatively, if you are prone to vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) or thrush, you can use an intimate care product such as an intimate wash to help promote good vaginal health.
These can also be used to help you feel fresher during your period or after sex.