Your feminine hygiene guide
Feminine hygiene is more than just staying clean. It’s about feeling safe, comfortable, healthy and empowered!
Feminine hygiene encompasses a woman’s reproductive system and menstrual cycle, both of which will impact her physical and emotional health throughout her life. Having a better understanding of feminine hygiene can help young women protect themselves from illness and empower them. Helping them feel more confident and giving them the ability to take control of their own fertility.
So without further ado, here is our brief guide to feminine hygiene.
Stay clean and dry
If you’re a swimmer or you like to workout, you should avoid staying in your wet or sweaty clothes for too long. Staying dry is key to avoiding uncomfortable Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) or Yeast Infections. Certain underwear fabrics can also cause irritation, so opt for cotton underwear instead as they’ll keep you dry and comfortable. Sleeping with no underwear at night is also a good idea as it gives your vagina airflow. Finally, be sure to always wash your hands before using the restroom to avoid spreading unwanted bacteria.
Although advertised as a way to clean your vagina, douching has been known to disrupt your natural PH balance and as a result, increase your risk of infection, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), pregnancy complications and risk of cervical cancer. Your vagina has the natural ability to clean itself, so as long as you follow the other hygiene tips, you should never have to douche.
Avoid harsh soaps
You should avoid using harsh soaps on your vagina including antiseptic gels and scented products that result in over-drying. They may also give you a rash or an infection by disturbing your natural PH levels. Although you may be tempted to buy good-smelling products with colorful packaging, you should go for gentle soaps instead.
Use a condom during sex
Protect yourself from contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by using a condom during sex, especially with new sex partners. The risks and consequences of contracting an STI or having an unplanned pregnancy far outweigh the inconvenience of using a condom. Plus, condoms are an affordable birth control and easy to carry in your bag. Going to the restroom after sex is a good feminine hygiene practice, as urinating after sex can help prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).
Practice safe hair removal
Take precautions when using a razor or other forms of hair removal around the vagina. If you over shave or wax, you may develop an uncomfortable rash or ingrown hairs. If you notice that you are getting ingrown hairs, ease up on your weekly hair removal process and start wearing loose pants and underwear to let hair grow out more easily. There are many other natural alternatives to hair removal, plus, being hairless isn’t worth the pain.
Never leave a tampon in overnight
In general, always read the instructions of the menstrual product you decide to use. If you prefer tampons, be sure to avoid keeping them in at night while you’re sleeping and during the day for longer than 6-8 hours. Although rare, tampons left in for too long can increase your risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a very serious infection caused by bacteria build up in the vagina. Instead, there are tons of other products for nighttime period protection like longer pads with wings, period underwear and pantyliners.
Eat a well balanced diet
Staying healthy and eating a well balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is crucial to your health and feminine hygiene. In general, what you eat and drink affects your mood, hormones, skin, hair and organs, and your vagina is no exception. Also, be sure to drink lots of water (6-8 glasses a day) to help prevent UTIs and eat foods with probiotics like yoghurt, kefir, pickles and sauerkraut to promote healthy bacteria.
There are many ways to maintain good hygiene, although in the end, feminine hygiene is about understanding and respecting your own body. Don’t feel ashamed of anything that makes you a woman, take care of yourself and your body will thank you.