As a young woman you are going to get told many different things about the importance of keeping your vagina clean and smelling ‘fresh’. In recent years we have seen a flood of so-called ‘feminine hygiene’ products on the market – from sprays, to washes and wipes. There is however one important piece of information that you need to know - the vagina is a great organ because it cleans itself. Yes, it does so these so-called ‘feminine hygiene’ products are unnecessary.
During the course of the month the vagina produces secretions depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Sometimes the discharge is thick, other times it is stringy. This is all normal. That slight odour that your vagina has – that is also okay. Many young women are obsessed with cleaning their vaginas and unfortunately excessive cleaning can lead to an imbalance in pH – the acidity balance. You see the vagina has bacteria that help to maintain the pH balance.
If you overwash your vagina and use all sorts of gels and sprays you mess up those bacteria. This then leads to vaginal thrush or bacterial vaginosis. The latter condition is unmistakable because your vaginal smells like tinned fish, and it is really uncomfortable. Vaginal thrush is easy to recognize because you get a thick white odourless discharge much like cottage cheese. Both conditions are easy to treat but you need to see your doctor or nurse clinician.
So what do you need to do to keep your vagina clean? Believe it or not water alone is more than enough. If you really must use soap it will have to be unperfumed and very plain. Some women opt to trim or shave off their pubic hair. Again that is a matter of personal preference – you choose what works for you. The underwear you choose is important. Try to go for cotton panties or at the very least panties with a cotton gusset. Cotton allows the vagina to breathe unlike other materials. This is not to say you cannot wear lace or nylon panties once in a while. The most important thing when it comes to your vagina is to keep everything as simple as you can.
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