As I grow older, I become increasingly obsessed with keeping my vagina healthy. It might sound crazy but it’s important, and I encourage other women to take the same attitude.
My vagina has had its share of disasters.
For years, I was getting bladder infections and experiencing regular yeast infections and BV (bacterial vaginosis). Once I took a step back and realized I wasn’t taking care of my lady parts like I should be, I became obsessed with my vagina. It really has made all the difference.
After multiple UTIs, I learned about what causes them and how to prevent them.
One of the most common reasons for a bladder infection is when fecal matter gets inside of the vagina—gross, right? Because your anus is so close to your vagina, it’s easy to understand how fecal matter can quickly find its way to an unwelcomed spot. This can happen from a number of things, such as sexual activity, not wiping properly, and even wearing a thong.
Proper hygiene is crucial when it comes to your vagina.
Although it seems kind of inevitable, there are many things to keep your lady parts healthy. As obvious as it may sound, wiping front to back after peeing is a step that many ladies don’t even consider. This prevents any bacteria from making its way to the vagina. Peeing after sex or masturbation is also a huge must. Bacteria is literally being shoved up your lady bits, so peeing immediately after flushes out the harmful stuff. This last thing took me a while to get used to, but eliminating thongs from your wardrobe is for the best. Trust me on this.
Changing your underwear frequently should be a part of your daily routine.
You should be changing your underwear twice a day, especially if you’ve been sweating excessively. If I’ve been outside in the summer heat or just finished a workout, I make sure to change them ASAP. Your vagina is already warm and moist as it is, so adding any additional moisture is just a breeding ground for bacteria.
I’m a firm believer in letting your vagina “breathe.”
I never wear underwear, pants, or any type of restricting clothing at night. Your vagina stays cooped up the entire day and it gets zero air circulation. Freeing it at night offers the perfect opportunity to breathe and take a break from being locked away.
Limiting tampon usage is also a good tip.
When it’s that time of the month, pads become my best friend at night, regardless of how heavy my flow is. Throughout the day, I make sure to change my tampon at least every three hours. Towards the end of my cycle when my flow has weakened, I use panty liners. Toxic Shock Syndrome is a real concern and your vagina doesn’t need a piece of dried up cotton shoved up it 24/7.
Maybe don’t strip your vagina completely bare of hair.
Having hair down there keeps bacteria and harmful contaminants from entering. Consistent shaving also keeps your skin pores open, which is just asking for dirt to enter. I do keep my bikini line shaved to avoid an unpleasant view, but keeping a little hair growth makes my vagina happy, and even makes me feel like more of a woman.
Regardless of whether or not I’m sexually active or have been using condoms, I make sure I get routinely checked.
STDs and STIs are a lot more common than you think, so it’s important you get checked every six months. You never know what your partner carries and if you did in fact contract something, it needs to be treated before problems arise. Most diseases and infections carry no symptoms, so don’t be fooled.
Pap smears and vaginal exams are a woman’s best friend even if they’re uncomfortable AF.
Cervical cancer is a common killer among women, so being routinely checked is crucial to our health. I learned the hard way when I found out I tested positive for HPV. I had two biopsies and then had to undergo surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells. Experiencing that at the start of my twenties really drove home the importance of yearly exams.
Overall, maintaining a healthy pH is key to a happy vagina.
Vaginas are actually extremely acidic and can be thrown off its balance very easily. Anything from the foods you eat to the products you use can cause a natural disaster. Very acidic fruits and poor nutrition can affect your pH, as can excessive alcohol consumption. When cleaning your vagina, technically you should only use water, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Unscented soaps are great for cleansing, and some washes such as Vagisil and Summers Eve are OK here and there, at least for me. I use my hand to clean, avoiding washcloths or sponges that could be harboring bacteria. Vaginas are powerful enough to rule the world but will turn on us quickly if we aren’t cautious.