Douches, vaginal washes, perfumes and deodorants. Keeping our vagina clean was never as complicated as it is today. But how many of those products in the female hygiene aisle do you we actually need? Knowing how our vagina functions could help you understand how to keep it healthy. Once you know which products you don’t need, you can also save a lot of money and cabinet space.
What’s In A Vagina?
Vaginas can often seem mysterious since they’re so well concealed. A woman’s vagina is a narrow passage running from the womb opening (otherwise known as the cervix) to the vaginal opening. Any secretions that occur in the vagina usually originate from the cervix and make their way down. Vaginal secretions are completely normal and even essential for a healthy vagina. Depending on what time of the month it is, your secretions will also vary. An unusually high amount of white fluid discharge from the vagina could indicate that your period is nearing.
If you’ve heard somewhere that large amounts of fluid ONLY means that you have contracted an STI, disregard it. Changes in vaginal secretions are completely normal and very rarely indicate the presence of an infection. The only time you need to be concerned about your secretions is if they change color (usually green or yellow) and it smells strong. If you notice this happening, then you should consult your gynecologist to rule out possibilities of an infection.
What’s That Smell?
A healthy vagina smells like a vagina, not like a field of flowers. Blame it on opportunistic marketeers, but many women today feel self-conscious of how they smell down there. These insecurities drive them to buy scented vaginal wipes and deodorants, which promise to make their lady parts smell like a floral bouquet. Here’s the thing though. You don’t need any of that. Vaginas naturally have an odor and that isn’t something you should try to cover up. It’s also normal for the odor to change along with your menstrual cycle. Many women notice their vagina smelling stronger on days closer to their period. If you do notice your vagina smelling strong or pungent, a floral wipe is not the way to go. Strong vaginal odors could be a symptom of an infection so go to your gynecologist to get it treated.
Apart from being completely unnecessary, scented vaginal products could actually cause an infection. They contain harmful chemicals which disrupt its pH value and make the area more vulnerable to bacteria. Once it’s infected, your vagina will start smelling strange, completely defeating the purpose of scented products.
What Do Douches Do?
Like the humans they’re sometimes compared to, vaginal douches also have no reason to be in your life. Douches use a special sanitizing fluid to irrigate your vagina and supposedly keep you healthy. But they can often have the exact opposite effect. Vaginas are composed of both good and bad bacteria. As long as there’s sufficient good bacteria present, the bad kind can’t do any harm. But vaginal douches don’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria, they eradicate both kinds completely. This puts you at a higher risk for infection since there’s nothing down there to protect you anymore. Studies done on the subject almost universally agree that there is no evidence of douches preventing vaginal infections.
What’s The Right Way To Keep A Vagina Clean?
To keep your vagina clean and healthy, you really don’t need any extra products. Washing yourself out with warm water and a gentle soap is more than enough to do the trick. You only have to do this once a day, when you’re having a shower. The rest of the time, your vaginal secretions keep the area clean and don’t need any extra help.