Vaginal Hygiene – Everything you need to know!

Television and magazine advertising want women to believe that the vagina is a dirty area that needs constant cleaning. They want you to think that douching, using a deodorant spray, or a panty liner is as important as brushing your teeth. This is NOT the case at all! Yeast or Gardnerella vaginitis (Bacterial Vaginosis) comes from too much growth of yeast or bacteria. These yeast or bacteria normally live in the vagina, but in smaller numbers. When they grow too much, you have an itchy or smelly discharge. Too much growth can be caused by many things. If you have problems with many vaginal infections, ask yourself the following questions: 

How often should you douche?

You should probably never douche. Douching may cause vaginal infections, either from unclean equipment or from washing away cells that line the vagina and protect it from infections. Your vagina has it”s own cleansing mechanism. It”s a lot like the nose. There is no need to wash inside your nose on a regular basis. If you have a bad-smelling or itchy vaginal discharge, it might be caused by douching. It will not be cured with douching. Check with your doctor about all bad-smelling or itchy or odd-colored discharges, but DO NOT DOUCHE. Douching is one of the major causes of pelvic infection. Douching pushes bacteria back up the uterus and tubes into the abdomen, where they cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Douching after your period may push the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) into the abdomen. This may cause endometriosis. For these reasons, we ask people NEVER to douche.

Do you wear panties at night?

The vagina, if kept constantly moist and away from air, can be a good home for the yeast and bacteria that like moisture and warmth. Wearing panties at night lowers air flow to the vagina, so don”t wear panties if you can avoid it.

Do you wear all-cotton underwear, not just cotton crotch?

All-cotton underwear “breathes” better then nylon. Cotton-crotch underwear has a layer of nylon outside the cotton crotch which lowers air flow to the vagina.

Do you wear panty hose?

Panty hose, even with a cotton crotch tends to lower air flow to the vagina. This helps yeast and bacteria grow. Try trouser socks with a long dress or wear thigh high stockings instead. Or get a garter belt from the lingerie department with old-fashioned stockings to match.

Do you wear panty liners when it is NOT time for your period?

Panty liners are plastic coated. This lowers air flow to the vagina. In addition, many women are allergic to these liners, even the unscented kind. If you have so much vaginal discharge that you must wear a panty liner all the time, you should see your doctor to rule out vaginitis.

Are you offended by mucus?

Having some vaginal discharge is perfectly normal. No one is dry like a lizard. The type of mucus discharge changes with your menstrual cycle. In the first half, the mucus is clear, like egg white, and there is some times a lot of it. In the second half, the mucus is thicker, tacky and white or yellow. If you are on oral contraceptives (birth control), you may have a little more mucus all the time.

Do you use Vaseline to make love?

Use a water-based lubricant for making love. (Like K-Y, Lubafax, Lubrin, Surgilube, etc.) They are sold in most drug stores.

Do you wash your vagina with soap?

When you shower or bathe, don”t use soap on the tender mucus membranes of the vagina. Only use the soap on the hairy outer portion of the vulva. Use only water on the vagina. Avoid bubble bath soap if you take tub baths. It often causes irritation and allergies.

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