7 Essential Feminine Hygiene Tips for Women of All Ages

7 Essential Feminine Hygiene Tips for Women of All Ages

It's not hard to maintain the right pH balance down there. All you need to do is let your private parts breathe and not subject it to harsh soaps and perfumes.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on May 17, 2019. It has since been updated.

We learn about our bodies and menstrual health from a number of sources. We do so because we are curious about how our bodies work and over years with experience, we come to understand on our own about our bodies. One of the most curious things we should know is about our vagina, which is an important part of our lives. Taking care of ourselves includes caring for our vaginal health too.

Maintaining hygiene down there is not a cumbersome process really. It's more about just letting your skin breathe and do its own thing rather than introducing foreign products like perfumes and douches, which mess with the delicate pH balance.

Here are seven things you could follow to ensure personal hygiene.

1. Cotton is your friend

Getty Images

Maybe you prefer satin or nylon, and that silk thong sure may look sexy, but your skin is definitely not loving it. The best fabric for your vagina is cotton, which is why most undergarments have a strip of cotton in the crotch area. Cotton lets your vagina breath.

Since we are on the topic of breathability, the best way is to go commando when at home. However, don't forget your panties before going to the gym since it adds an extra layer against equipment full of germs, said Women's Health magazine.

2. Say no to douching

Getty Images

A vagina is a self-cleaning machine which doesn't need to be douched to be rid of germs and bacteria. Both soaps and douches destabilize the pH balance and can cause bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis feels itchy and is accompanied by thin, gray-colored discharge as well as a fishy smell, according to Bustle. So, stay away from douching at all costs. While this condition is treatable it must be urgently attended to since it can cause infertility when severe.

3. Stay away from perfumed products

Getty Images

Your vagina has a natural scent and that's normal. Ignore the commercials for feminine hygiene that tell you that floral is how your vajayjay should smell like. These companies are propagating a false idea of what the vagina should be like and preying on women who feel self-conscious about almost all of their body, from hair to belly to nails. There is hardly any part of us that commercials don't target. At least our vaginas should be our private matter. Embrace the natural scent and avoid products with perfumes because they can contain irritants, according to Romper.com.

4. Use fresh towels

Getty Images

Wet towels and washcloths are the perfect vessels for bacteria to cling to and grow. It can cause infections not just near your private parts but on any surface of the skin. It is recommended that you change towels each time and purchase soft ones. Wash them as frequently as you wash undergarments, which is after every single use.

5. Use lubrication for sex

Getty Images

Imagine your partner has just initiated some "quality time" but you're not quite there yet. It can be quite a buzzkill but it is entirely normal. Vaginal dryness could be a result of medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, or hormonal birth control. It could also be due to perimenopause. In this situation, it is important to communicate with your partner to not go forward without using any lube. It can lead to painful sex and abrasions, said Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University, to Women's Health magazine.

6. Wipe the right way

Getty Images

You probably know it already, have taught it to your children and grandchildren. Wipe from front to back, not the reverse.

7. Change tampons or pads often

Getty Images

It is a cardinal rule that things down there need to stay dry to stay healthy. However, during your periods, maybe you forget to change your tampons or pads because of a busy schedule. That's just a no-no though. If you keep moist and sodden pads near your vagina it will become a feeding ground for bacteria. Also, don't wear panty liners for your normal discharge since it increases the temperature around the area.