For far too long, vaginas have been kind of a taboo topic. Which is kind of weird right? After all, approximately 50% of the population has one. These days, conversations about vaginas (and all the bodily functions that come along with it) have become much more mainstream and I’m are definitely here for it!
That said, there are lots of misconceptions and myths about vaginas and how to really take care of them and so I’m going to clear some of that up. Keep reading for more information on keeping your vagina happy and healthy.
Be conscious of what you put in your vagina
This goes for everything—from sex toys, to lubricants, to tampons to penises. Every time you insert something into your vagina, there is the potential for harmful bacteria to be introduced which can throw off your pH balance and lead to infections. You want to only use body-safe sex toys (i.e. made from pure and medical- or food-grade materials, not blends) and always check the ingredients in your lube (here’s a helpful list!). Remember to change your tampon regularly (no longer than 8 hours) and never fall asleep with one inserted as it can put you at risk for toxic shock syndrome.
Stay away from douches
Here’s an important tip—your vagina is supposed to smell like a vagina, not like peaches and cream or summery fresh (whatever that means). The vagina literally has a self-cleaning system in place that keeps your pH balanced and the healthy bacteria in place. Douching isn’t just unnecessary, it can be harmful as it removes the good bacteria, leaving you susceptible to infections. If you find that your vagina has a scent that is off-putting or unusual, that might be an indication that something is going on down there, in which case you should reach out to a medical professional. However, if your vagina’s scent just smells like what it is (a vagina), then please don’t worry about it (and do not use a douche!).
Cotton panties, please!
Natural fibers and breathable fabrics are a vagina’s best friend! You want to keep the moisture in your underwear to a minimum to prevent bacterial growth so try to opt for moisture wicking fabrics wherever possible. And if you aren’t wearing cotton underwear, try sleeping in the nude to give your vagina a breather after a long day. And while we’re here, be sure to change your gym clothes as soon as possible after a workout!
Pee after sex
If this isn’t already a habit, make it one! Peeing after sex can potentially flush bacteria from the urethra and potentially prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). This is especially important for women who are prone to UTIs… like I said, keep your vagina happy and healthy.
This might be obvious but safe sex is really, really important when it comes to keeping your vagina healthy. You determine what safe sex looks like to you according to your relationship status and sexual practices however, protection + Regular STI and STD checks are pretty much standard. Also be mindful of the order of your sex acts (like anal followed by vaginal sex might increase your risk of infection) as well as the ingredients in your condoms!
Finally, don’t forget your pap smears. I know we might be tempted to skip them but regular pap smears can give you important health information on your vagina and your entire reproductive system. It’s definitely worth it.