Friday, 16 June 2017

To use soap or not use soap? That is the question.

Let’s Talk about Hygiene

There are many misconceptions and misleading information available online and through social media when it comes to personal hygiene.

I remember a saying from one of my instructors, “The vagina is supposed to smell like a vagina, not like flowers.” Another important saying I want you to remember is, “the vagina is a self-cleaning oven.”

So let’s start off with some don’ts when it comes to personal hygiene.

  1. No douching
  2. No putting anything inside the vagina such as yoni pearls or other “detox” products. It is not necessary
  3. No using soap on the inner lips or vaginal opening
  4. No perfume, deodorant, anti-bacterial down there
Just WATER is all you need.

When it comes to partners, everyone has a personal preference. Some men like women freshly showered and some men prefer when you have a little of your own personal scent. Make sure to find out what your partner likes/prefers. Notice how I said, your own personal scent? Just your body’s natural odour.

There are very good reasons why you don’t want to use products. Firstly the area around the vaginal opening is very sensitive. Soaps and chemicals can dry and irritate the mucous membrane. This can lead to burning, itching and above all, is the leading cause of infections. Products and soaps can change the natural balance of pH and the ecology of the vagina (1). The vagina has a very delicate balance of its own bacteria and fluids that we don’t want to disturb.

The vagina cleans itself by naturally producing and releasing vaginal discharge. This is normal. The amount of discharge will vary among women. What I will say is if you have concerns about your vulvar area or changes in your discharge, see your Doctor.

Now lets look at some specific tips to keep the vulvar area clean and happy.

  1. Use warm water to wash area and dry thoroughly with towel or if sensitive/irritated you can blow dry on cool setting. Make sure to pat dry.
  2. Wearing 100% cotton underwear
  3. Avoid thongs
  4. Ensuring good rinse cycle when doing laundry, avoiding harsh soaps
  5. Use soft toilet paper, no perfume
  6. Avoid nylon pantyhose
  7. Don’t scratch the area
  8. Wash new underwear before wearing
  9. Sleeping in the nude
  10. Wiping front to back
  11. Removing wet clothing, especially after swimming
  12. If you sweat in the vulvar region you can use cornstarch to keep area dry

I hope you found this blog helpful and if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail maddy@thepelvichealthlady.com

Thanks,

The Pelvic Health Lady

References:
  1. Winston, Sheri. 2010. Women’s Anatomy of Arousal. Mango Garden Press: New York.
  2.  Cleveland Clinic. 2013. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/vulvar-care
  3.  Pelvic Health Solutions. 2017. http://pelvichealthsolutions.ca/for-the-patient/what-is-vulvodynia/vulvar-skin-care/



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