15 Things You Should Be Doing To Keep Your Vagina Healthy

Your vagina gives you great sexual pleasure—make sure you treat it with kindness so it can continue serving you well while keeping your general health in great condition. Here are 16 things you need to know about doing just that:

Pee when you need to go! Don’t hold in your pee! This can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) which can burn and hurt like hell. Although they affect your urinary tract, UTIs can also put your vagina out of business until you feel better, which means no sex! Ugh.

Choose cotton. Cotton underwear is the best to wear because it helps your skin to breathe while preventing the accumulation of moisture that can cause bacteria in your vagina to thrive. Plus, they’re more comfortable. What’s not to love?

Avoid fragrances. Your vagina is supposed to smell the way it does and it cleans itself daily. If you’re putting fragranced soap or lotions up there, you’re just irritating it and disrupting its PH balance which can cause infections. Washing inside with pure water is more than enough to keep things fresh.

Avoid shaving and waxing. Yes, you want to be smooth down there, but don’t go overboard. Ingrown hairs can cause irritation and if you have sensitive skin, shaving or waxing can really hurt. You might even cut your skin, allowing bacteria to enter. Try to trim instead of removing your pubic hair fully.

Use lube. If you feel you need extra lubrication, always remember to bring lube to the bedroom. If you don’t, the vagina and labia can become irritated and even chafed. Ouch! It’s just not worth it.

Eat probiotic foods. Certain foods are really good for keeping your vagina’s PH levels healthy. This prevents things like yeast infections from happening. Make sure you stock up on probiotic foods like yogurt, tempeh, miso and sauerkraut that prevent bad bacteria from getting out of control.

Don’t douche! Douching is a terrible thing to do to your vagina. It actually pushes water up into the vagina, eliminating its natural secretions. This messes up the vagina’s natural production of healthy bacteria it needs to function. As stated above, it’s unnecessary and even harmful.

Be careful about lingerie. You might love your sexy lingerie, but make sure it’s not made from materials that can irritate your vagina or even cause allergies. For instance, synthetic fibers, elastic, and dyes can be harmful. It’s a good reason to start stocking up on organic lingerie that looks sexy while being good for you.

Wash your clothes carefully. Be careful of how you wash your underwear. If you’re using chemical detergents that have a strong smell, these can irritate your sensitive skin. Make sure you choose gentle products that have as little scent as possible.

Seriously, always wipe from front to back After using the bathroom, always wipe yourself from front to back. This prevents the transfer of germs from the rectum to the vagina, where they can cause infections. The same “front to back” rule should apply when you wash yourself in the shower to keep your vagina germ-free.

Take that post-gym shower. When you sweat, you sweat all over—even in the vaginal area —so make sure you have a good shower after that intense workout at the gym. If you have a lot of pubic hair, be sure to wash it well to clean away germs.

Do your Kegels! You work out the rest of your body, so don’t neglect your vagina. Kegel exercises keep your vagina strong and can increase your sexual pleasure. How do you do them? Contract your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds, take a short break, then do more.

Stay away from glitter and other foreign objects! One of the latest vagina trends is to insert a capsule filed with glitter into your vagina where it will dissolve and release the glitter contents. WTF? Doctors are warning that foreign objects such as these “glitter-bombs” shouldn’t be inserted into your vagina because they can cause inflammation or bad bacteria to flourish. Plus, they’re just really gross!

Keep your sex toys clean. Be sure to wash your sex toys well before and after use. Women’s Health has a great guide. Toys made from glass, stainless steel, wood or silicone (that are motorized toys) should be cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap. Items made from stone, stainless steel, silicone or Pyrex that aren’t motorized can be put in boiling water for up to 10 minutes. But if you’re going to share sex toys made from hard plastic, jelly rubber, thermoplastic elastomer (TPR) or elastomer, even washing them with water and soap won’t always eliminate bacteria and STIs, so use a condom if you’re sharing them!

Stop stressing. You might want to wash your vagina more during certain times of the month when its smell changes, but don’t overdo the hygiene. It’s perfectly normal for your vagina to smell differently at different times of your menstrual cycle, and it’s not always a sign that something’s wrong. Stop worrying about your vagina so much and let it do its thing!

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