Vaginal hygiene: How to smell good ‘down there’!

Ladies! This is very important! Have you faced awkward moments when a desperate, embarrassing itch strikes at a public place? If so, it’s time to up your hygiene quotient “down there”!

Many women are surprised to learn that a vagina is self-cleaning and knows how to take care of itself. Glands inside the cervix and vagina secrete a small amount of fluid, taking out old skin cells and other dirt and debris lining the vaginal wall. This is its way of keeping it squeaky clean and protecting you from harmful bacteria.

No matter how clean a woman’s vagina is, it will always have a distinct odor, but fret not because that’s natural and normal. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of a smell as the sweat glands around your genitals cause it. However, if the smell is fishy or has a foul odor with itchiness it warrants a trip to your gynaecologist, as it could be a sign of infection.

We at MedGuru offer some pointers to keep your vagina healthy and clean.

Healthy diet
A balanced, nutritious diet and intake of fluids play a key role in vaginal and reproductive health. In fact, certain foods like cranberry juice and yogurt can thwart yeast infections and aid in their treatment.

Wash with mild soap & water
To clean your private parts use warm water to gently remove any possible dirt and debris. If you want to use a cleanser, rinse with a mild, diluted watery solution of soap. Scrubbing is a big no-no. The vagina is a sensitive area and needs to be taken care of gently. Avoid deodorants, talcum powder or fragrance wipes designed to ‘freshen’ the vagina as these can cause burning and irritation. Lastly, try to take showers and not baths.

Wipe thoroughly
Be careful about the direction in which you wipe. Always wipe front to back after using the bathroom to avoid spread of rectal bacteria to your vaginal region which may trigger infection.

Maintain proper feminine hygiene
Sanitary pads and tampons should be changed frequently during your period. Avoid using panty liners to absorb normal discharge when not menstruating as they will keep moisture and warmth near your vagina which can cause infection.

Dry off
Drying up is as vital as cleaning. Because bacteria thrive in moist environments, use a fresh, clean towel and pat the entire vaginal area dry after taking a shower or bath.

Avoid douching
Contrary to popular belief, douches are not a good idea for the vaginal environment as they carry a risk of infecting the uterus.

Trim it down
Don’t let the afro thrive down there! This is because the hair traps sweat and drops of body secretions which increase the musty odor. Shave it often or use a small, blunt pair of scissors to carefully trim the pubic hair.

Choose clothing carefully
Change your underwear daily and stick to cotton panties as they are more hygienic, light, comfortable and lets your skin breathe. Fancy synthetic or silk underclothes can result in vaginal sweating, causing bacteria build-up, eventually leading to an odor. Also refrain from donning tight-fitting clothes and change out of wet swim gear and sweaty workout clothes as quickly as possible.

Try to make some of the above pointer a regular lifestyle habit and watch yourself become a healthier, fresher-smelling you!