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Forget Douching! Here’s How You Keep Clean Down There 


Have you ever wondered how to maintain cleanliness down there? With the rise of social media and increased educational efforts on women’s health, awareness about intimate hygiene has grown significantly. As a result, the feminine hygiene product industry has become a multi-billion dollar market that continues to expand each year.

Drugstore aisles are stocked with various products to help you feel fresh and clean. From vulva perfumes and scented cleansing cloths to feminine douches, what to buy to stay fresh and feel our best every day can be confusing. Turns out there are simple changes we can make in our hygiene routine to keep our vaginas healthy so that we can feel clean and confident no matter what the day brings.

Read on as we share the real deal on keeping clean down there including one supplement to add to your diet to help promote healthy vaginal odor. 

Skip the Feminine Douche: Here’s Why It’s Not Worth It

If you’re not familiar with the word douche it’s a French word for “wash” or “soak”. To douche means to clean or flush out the vagina with a liquid solution combined with other substances. These mixtures include homemade concoctions of herbs, antiseptics, vinegar mixes, or using store bought preparations. While douching has been around for thousands of years, it’s become more popular due to advertisements by companies who sell douching products.

Douching is a two-step process. The first step involves putting the mixture into a bottle or a bag. Then it’s inserted into the vagina by spraying or squirting from a bottle which washes out cleaning the vagina.

Women around the world douche for many reasons but their goal is to achieve a certain level of cleanliness and be odor free. They believe it’ll help treat or prevent vaginal odors that are associated with sex and menstruation. Other reasons women douche include preventing pregnancy, eliminating itchiness, reducing vaginal odors, and feeling clean and fresh.

Forget Douching! Here’s How You Keep Clean Down There  3

The reason for this is that a healthy vagina consists of a balance of good and harmful bacteria to maintain the natural acidic environment and using douching products can change this balance of flora. Disturbing this delicate balance of flora can result in an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Not only can this lead to yeast infections and mess up the pH of a healthy vaginal but studies have found that women who douche tend to get more incidents of bacteria vaginosis.

Bottom line? The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology doesn’t recommend douching. 

Healthy Habits for Vaginal Hygiene

If douching is not recommended then what can we do to stay fresh and clean while ensuring a healthy vagina? Keep reading for tips you can start implementing today.

Skip The Soap

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, your vagina is self-cleaning. Want proof? Look at the normal odorless discharge on your underwear. Your vagina cleans itself daily by getting rid of dead skin cells from its lining producing a clear, white odorless discharge.

In addition, the lining is also made up of lactobacilli which keeps the vagina lining slightly acidic to prevent an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and microbes. Yeast may also be present but the natural acidity keeps it in check and prevents overgrowth.

As a result, Dr. Lyndsey Harper, a board-certified OB/GYN at Rosy says, “The vagina doesn’t need to be cleaned.” In fact, an overemphasis on hygiene can disrupt the natural pH balance increasing your chances of vaginal infections and discomfort.  

Say No To Fragrance

While soap is not recommended to clean the vagina it’s recommended to clean your vulva daily with mild, pH-appropriate soap, and water. “The vulva is female genitalia that you can see on the outside including the labia, clitoris, and perineum,” says Dr. Harper. Because the vulva can be vulnerable to contact dermatitis choose a soap free from irritants and hypoallergenic with a pH ranging from 4.2 to 5.6.

Despite the abundance of specialized products for women’s hygiene, finding the ideal soap doesn’t have to be expensive or require hours of research. It can be as simple as picking up a bar of colorless and fragrance-free Dove sensitive skin or the Ivory Gentle at your local grocery store as recommended by Dr. Harper.

Choose Cotton Over Synthetics

Remember that discharge from your self-cleaning vagina? You’ll want to wear the right fabric underwear to absorb the moisture so it doesn’t lead to yeast infections or breed bacteria. And the best fabric for that is cotton. Not only is cotton breathable and natural but it’s both gentle and comfortable to the sensitive skin around your pubic areas.

Other materials like synthetics or nylon can irritate your skin and trap moisture creating a perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth leading to infections. Also, it’s best to avoid wearing tight pants or underwear that may result in heat, friction, and irritation, providing an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish.

As far as the style of underwear? That’s up to you and whatever is most comfortable including thongs. Underwear styles did not affect the pH, skin microclimate, or microflora as we once believed. A study done in 2018 looked at the connection between wearing thongs and the prevalence of urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast infections. In the end, they concluded that wearing thongs didn’t played a role in these infections or increased a woman’s susceptibility to them.

So wear what’s most comfortable and appropriate for you! 

The Best Probiotic for Vaginal Health

A healthy vagina relies on the balance of thousands of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms. Our understanding of the microbiome is continually expanding as we are learning more about how the microbiome plays a role in maintaining a healthy vagina. Upsetting this fine-tuned balance can make one more prone to infections.

Research suggests that there is one strain of probiotic called Lactobacillus acidophilus that is most common in the vaginas of healthy women.  Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of microorganisms. By encouraging healthy bacteria to multiply probiotics can prevent harmful bacteria or fungi from overgrowing, reducing the chances of getting vaginal infections.

Probiotic supplements like Private Party contain a combination of three strains of bacteria from the Lactobacillus family. Studies have shown that the bacteria in the supplement can adhere to the vaginal lining cells promoting a healthy pH.  In addition to containing probiotics, Private Party also contains proanthocyanidins, the main ingredient in cranberries that promote urinary tract health. This combination of Lactobacillus bacteria with proanthocyanidins creates a potent blend that is ideal for overall vaginal health and maintaining a healthy pH balance.

When To Consult Your Healthcare Professional

Following these hygiene habits is a great start but there will be times when you’ll need to seek out professional help. Suppose you experience persistent symptoms such as unusual discharge that is yellow or green, strong or bad smelling odor, or itching in the pelvic region, in that case, Dr. Harper suggests seeing your healthcare professional. These signs indicate a possible underlying infection that requires a professional assessment and treatment.

It’s also a good idea to see a doctor or a healthcare provider if you have sexual health concerns. Experiencing discomfort during sex or having symptoms of sexually transmitted infections warrants a visit to your doctor. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to transmitting infections to your partners.

The Takeaway

Vaginal hygiene isn’t complicated and doesn’t require a shelf full of products. By choosing cotton underwear of your choice, using fragrance-free soap, adding a probiotic supplement, and knowing when to seek a healthcare professional can go a long way to promoting a healthy vagina. Use these tips today to feel confident about cleanliness in your intimate areas!

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