You may think that knowing how to clean your vagina is as easy as a,b,c…but you’d be wrong. There is a lot of misconception when it comes to wether or not we need to wash our vaginas. Being that the vagina is ‘self-cleaning’, the questions of overcleaning has come up.
So, we decided to help you understand this a little better.
Cleaning the vagina properly is a major concern to most women, but did you know you don’t need to wash your vagina. But you do need to wash your vulva. Let’s recap some basic anatomy.
The vagina is the inner canal inside your body. The term “vulva” refers to the outer parts around the vagina, such as the clitoris, clitoral hood, inner and outer labia (vaginal lips). While you shouldn’t wash inside your vagina, it’s a good idea to wash your vulva.
Washing the vagina can lead to many problems. You might have heard that the vagina is like a self-cleaning oven, and that is a pretty accurate metaphor.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists points out that your vagina cleans itself and keeps itself healthy by maintaining the correct pH balance and cleaning itself with natural secretions.
Your vagina contains a lot of “good” bacteria. These bacteria maintain the ideal pH balance in your vagina, which is slightly acidic. The acidic pH makes it hard for “bad” bacteria to infect your vagina.
So there you have it. Your vagina does clean itself – like a little independent lady. But your vulva needs help to get clean.
Now, what are some great tips to help you maintain a healthy vagina?
- It’s a good idea to avoid perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics as these can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation. Use plain, unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vulva gently every day. The vagina will clean itself inside your body with natural vaginal secretions (discharge).
- When you’re on your period, you should wash more than once a day. Keeping the pereneal area between the vagina and the anus clean is also important.
- It’s best to wash “front to back”, in other words, wash your vulva first and then your anus. Otherwise, bacteria from the anus can spread to your vagina, which can cause infections.
- It is important to note that most supermarkets have a range of feminine washes and sprays that are said to reduce odour and clean the vagina. According to the Health line, it is advisable not to use these products. Your vagina doesn’t need any of these items to be clean, and it certainly doesn’t need to smell like a rose garden.
These products were essentially created to prey on people’s insecurities regarding their bodily odours. Helth sources state that these products are both unnecessary and harmful, as they can irritate your vulva and vagina.
Health sources further explain that our vagina might smell distinctly like a vagina, and that’s OK. No vagina is odourless, nor should it be. Vaginas have many possible smells, from coppery to sweet. The smell of your vagina might change depending on your diet and menstrual cycle.
If the smell is pungent and unpleasant, contact a doctor or other healthcare provider. Certain conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis, can cause your vagina to smell strong. Your provider can advise you on any next steps.
We wish you happy trails on your journey to understanding your lady parts!