Genital Hygiene for Females
It is extremely important to wash your genitals not only to keep them clean but also to keep them healthy. There are certain types of bacteria which thrive on our skin and are absolutely required to eat away the dead skin. However, a buildup of the bacteria due to unhealthy cleaning of the genitals can pose a serious health concern.
The genital area is normally warm and moist and if proper hygiene is not maintained, it can provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. This can cause rashes, itching, and pungent smell.
Female Genital Organs
The vagina has the capability to keep itself clean with the help of natural discharge. Vagina can be described as the tubular passageway that runs from the outside of the body to the cervix. The external female sex organs that lie outside the vagina are called the vulva. The vulva include the outer and the inner folds of sensitive tissue, namely the labia majora and the labia minora, clitoris, and the openings of the vagina and the urethra.
The purpose of genital hygiene in females is to keep the vulvar area dry and free of infections. Improper hygiene and unsafe sex can introduce infectious organisms and bacteria into the vagina.
Female Genital Care
Women should follow the steps given below to keep their genitals clean and healthy:
- Wash the genital area with warm water and mild soap everyday. The pubic hair, vulva, and the anus must be washed regularly using unperfumed soap.
- You must use a toilet paper to wipe the area dry after urinating. Care should be taken to wipe from the front to the back.
- It is very important to wash your hands after urinating or bowel movements as germs are easily spread through hands.
- You must avoid the usage of douches unless it is prescribed by your physician. Douches can disturb the vagina’s pH balance by reducing the acidity and making it more susceptible to bacterial infections.
- Try to wear 100 percent cotton underwear, preferably, white. You must avoid wearing acetate, nylon, and other manmade fibers. You must opt for clothing that allows air flow so that the secretions from your vagina can evaporate.
- Avoid wearing thongs and nylon pantyhose. They tend to trap heat and moisture and provide an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria and fungi.
- It is important to wash your genitals more than once during your periods. Many women feel unclean during their periods and therefore try to use douches to clean themselves. This must be avoided as excessive use of douches can cause bacterial infections.
- You must change clothes after strenuous exercising sessions and work-outs.
A number of women feel the need to remove their pubic hair. If you have warts, you must be very careful while removing pubic hair as shaving or waxing can easily spread the infection. Moreover, hair removal might also lead other problems such as ingrowing hair, and scars.
Important Consideration for Female Genital Care
To maintain your genitals in a healthy condition, you must observe the following considerations:
- Do not try to wash the area inside your genitals as your body has natural bacteria that take care of this area. If you sit in a bath full of shampoo, soap, and bubble bath for a long time, the healthy bacteria inside our genitals might get disturbed. Therefore it is advisable to take a shower instead.
- Make it a point to change the sanitary towels/internal tampons frequently, especially on days when you have heavy periods.
- Avoid the use of vaginal deodorants.
- Avoid the use of heavily scented perfumed soaps or bath gels for bathing.