There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to the right way to clean your vagina. From gynaecologists insisting that the vagina is self cleansing to other people saying that the vagina can do with a gentle vagina wash, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. However, today, we put all that confusion to rest by finding the absolute best and safest way to clean your vagina.
Before delving into the right way to clean your vagina, gynaecologists are right when they say that the vagina is a self-cleansing organ. It uses the natural bacteria found inside it to keep the pH normal and the whole organ healthy. Because of these bacteria and natural changes ion your hormones, you will notice that your vagina produces discharge which changes depending on the day of your cycle. Healthy vaginal discharge should not have a strong or bad odour but if it does, you should consult a doctor.
So what’s the right way to clean your vagina?
Even though the vagina is self-cleansing, it still needs some help staying clean and fresh – but not too much help! When taking your normal shower or bath, spread the lips of your vagina apart and gently cleanse around the folds, using a clean and wet washcloth or your hands. Make sure that the water you use to clean it is warm – not hot. Hot water is not recommended because it can burn the skin of the vagina which is usually very delicate.
When cleaning your vagina, you do not need to use any soap because the soap might disrupt or even kill all the healthy and right bacteria in your vagina which might then disrupt the pH of your vagina. When the normal pH of the vagina is disrupted, you may experience complications such as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and possibly sexually transmitted infections if the mucosal layer of the vagina is weakened. However, if you’d like, you can use a mild soap that won’t irritate the skin — but this isn’t necessary.
In addition to cleaning your vagina the right way, it’s a good idea to wash the anus and the area between your vagina and anus every day. It’s best to wash “front to back” — in other words, wash your vagina first and then your anus. Otherwise, bacteria from the anus can spread to your vagina, which can cause infections.
What about feminine washes?
Many pharmacies and health stores sell a range of feminine washes and sprays that claim to reduce odour and clean the vagina. I’d say don’t buy them unless you have the go-ahead from your gynaecologist. Why? Because some of these products usually prey on people’s insecurities regarding their bodily odours. If you’re not careful, some of these products can be harmful and end up irritating your vagina.
What if I have an odour?
Your vagina isn’t supposed to smell like candy or roses! A healthy vagina will have a musky scent that is not unpleasant because of the discharges it produces. A lot of women may worry that people around them might smell it but it’s unlikely that they can – unless it’s your sexual partner. But that’s perfectly normal, and it’s not something to worry about.
Do not douche!
Douching involves squirting a solution or water into the vagina, usually with the intention of cleaning the vagina. However, this isn’t safe and doesn’t work. Douching, even with water can disrupt the normal vaginal bacteria, so it isn’t recommended that you use one.