It’s down there…but do we really think about keeping it healthy and giving it the care it needs in the way we would other parts of our bodies? Thee answer is more than likely to be ‘no’, but “prioritising your everyday health can help keep your vagina in shape”, says Dr Chua Yang, Director of A Clinic For Women at Mt Alvernia Hospital. “This includes maintaining a good diet and exercise, core muscle workouts like yoga and pilates to help your pelvic floor muscles tone up and positive wellbeing in general.” Here she reveals how to show our V-Zone some love.
Keep it fashionable
Your vagina is as its happiest when it can breathe because germs like Candida love dampness. As we live in a humid climate this is even more important to note. “Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight shorts and jeans all the time. Also, get out of sweaty or wet panties or bathing suit bottoms quickly so you can dry out,” advises Dr Chua.
Moisturising is not just for the face, you know. Your vulva can get dry when estrogen production diminishes, but don’t go using regular body lotions which are packed with drying alcohol and fancy fragrances. Says Dr Chua, “Try a tiny dot of basic Vaseline or other specific vaginal moisturisers.”
Look at your contraception
Many women are allergic to latex and spermicide, both of which are in most condoms. If you feel a burning sensation after using one, take note. “Latex condoms can cause hives or rashes in women with these allergies,” cautions Dr Chua. Also, some contraceptive pills can thin and dry the vagina, making sex uncomfortable. “Talk to your doctor about alternative birth control options.”
Don’t be a douche
A douche flushes water up into the vagina as a speedy wash option, however, using a cleanser to douche can disrupt your normal bacteria. “Douching should only be done if you have an infection involving excessive discharge,” warns Dr Chua. “Carried out regularly it will serve to get rid of all the good bacteria, which is not what you want.” #vaginafail
We’re pretty sure that someone kind advised you to wipe front to back when you were younger. But just in case…it’s imperative that you do so as, “both your bits and back passage contain bacteria which is important to the functioning of those areas, but separately,” explains Dr Chua. “Wiping the wrong way can cause major problems.” The same goes for if you’re playing with sex toys – beware the bacteria swap and keep your play things and your body clean.
Choose your products carefully
Step away from perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics, as these can affect your natural balance of bacteria, pH levels, and cause dryness and irritation. Rather, use unperfumed soaps to wash your ladybits daily and feel lucky because it also cleverly cleans itself with natural vaginal secretions. “Washing more than once a day during your period may be advisable,” says Dr Chua. “And if you get vulval irritation, use non-allergenic plain soaps or pH appropriate cleansers to nip this in the bud.”