Women’s perineal hygiene is one such topic that is least talked about and yet women across all age groups want to know more about it. Lack of knowledge has given birth to many myths, and most women still live in the dark as to how to clean a vagina. It’s such a tiny-looking organ. However, ignoring its hygiene can lead to infections and damage.
One of the most common myths is that women should use hot water to clean the vagina. This is a complete no-no as hot water can irritate the skin. Instead, warm water can be used to clean the outer area of the vagina. There are more tips and tricks to keep perineal health issues at bay.
Health Shots got in touch with Dr Jyoti Bhaskar, Additional Director- Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Patparganj, to understand why hot water should not be used to clean the vagina.
Keep hot water away from vagina
As per Dr Bhaskar, hot water should not be used to clean the vulva or vagina, and this holds true especially after sex. The vulva is a little swollen after sex, and if at this time we use hot water to clean it, it can increase the risk of certain infections within the vagina.
Intimate hygiene tips for women
Dr Bhaskar pointed out that women need to understand that it is the “vulva that needs to be cleaned, and not the vagina”. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ that cleans itself on its own. So, when you go into the shower, all you need to do is to use the water and mild fragrant-free soap and your fingers to clean the vulval skin.
After peeing, you need to clean your private parts again, using a technique called front to the back. In this technique, you need to pour water from the front and use your fingers in a movement from the front to the back, slowly cleaning your vulval skin. After cleaning it with water like this, you need to pat it dry by using toilet paper. You need to use a separate paper for your urethra and vagina, and a separate one for your anus.
The expert further says that you need to clean yourself up after sex as well. Just using your fingers and water is good enough to maintain your perineal hygiene.
Tricks to keep your intimate health under check
• It’s important to keep your private area dry after cleaning it with water.
• Wear cotton underwear. Avoid very tight clothes. If possible, change your underwear at least twice a day.
• Don’t use any fragrant deodorants or soap to clean your private area.
• If you wish to remove hair from your private area, the best method is to use clippings. The clip will just cut your hair short. Using razors or blades might lead to greater infections.
• Never douche your vagina. Don’t point your water jet into the vagina. As aforementioned, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Using water can rip off the protective layer of bacteria in the vagina.
• You should not use any special intimate hygiene to clean your vagina. Your vulva does not require any external pH fluids, and it is known to be able to maintain its pH. The use of washes is still very controversial.
When should you be worried about your perineal health?
As per the expert, you should only worry about your intimate health, if:
• You have a discharge that smells a lot.
• Your private parts feel very itchy.
• You look into the mirror and find your vagina to be very red and swollen.
You should never indulge in self-medication, and it’s important to practice safe sex to prevent the chances of catching any sexually transmitted infections.