Things you never knew about cleaning down there

Make sure you take the necessary steps to keep your vagina clean and prevent irritation and infection.

 Underwear

Most women have no qualms about ensuring that their personal hygiene is top-notch, but when it comes to the nether regions, we’re far less sure. Indeed, as your intimate area is one of the most sensitive and delicate parts of your body, using harsh chemicals may leave you with an irritation, burn or worse, even an infection.

Here are important facts to know about caring for yourself down south….

1. Wash once a day
You may have heard that vaginas are self-cleaning, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to wash! To get rid of any build-up of sweat and secretions, you’ll need to wash your private bits once a day.

2. Don’t over-wash
Your vagina keeps clean with the help of natural secretions, or what you know as discharge. If you clean it more than once a day, you could be disrupting the delicate pH balance of the environment, which could cause dryness and irritation.

If you clean it more than once a day, you could be disrupting the delicate pH balance of the environment, which could cause dryness and irritation.

3. Don’t use scented products
This refers to anything that comes in close contact with your private parts, including fragranced toilet paper, scented baby wipes and vaginal deodorants. Even certain condoms, tampons and body washes that are heavily scented may leave your vagina inflamed or with a rash. It's normal for your vagina to have its own smell, but if it’s unpleasant, or causing you embarrassment, you should see a doctor. A common cause of unusual vaginal discharge or smells is a bacterial infection, which may need to be treated with a course of antibiotics.

4. Always wipe from front to back
You may never have given it much thought, but there is a correct way to wipe yourself after a toilet visit! Always wipe from front to back, so as to prevent any faecal germs from getting near your urethra, which could trigger a urinary tract infection. Wipe firmly, but don’t scrub or rub too hard as this could cause abrasions in the delicate skin around the vaginal area.

5. Check your underwear
Use undergarments made of the right material, such as cotton, so that your vagina can breathe. Cotton allows air to circulate around your private parts, but stay away from synthetic materials like nylon.

Never wear damp underwear or reuse your panties, as a damp or dirty environment is conducive for bacteria to multiply. This is especially so when you’re having your period.

6. Change your sanitary products regularly
Don’t wear sanitary pads, panty liners and tampons for prolonged periods of time. Change these every 3 to 4 hours, even more frequently if you’re having a heavy period, or doing something strenuous which causes you to perspire, for instance.

Most sanitary products are made of synthetic materials, which can prevent the skin from breathing. If you don’t change these regularly, it will irritate your skin and increase the risk of a yeast infection.

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