Be the queen of hygiene

Are you a regular shopper in the feminine hygiene aisle? You may think you're doing everything you should to keep your vagina clean and healthy. But if you're stocking up on products like douches and deodorant sprays, you should think again.

Products like these are often marketed to women who want to stay fresh and clean. But it's a myth that you need these feminine products to practice good hygiene.

The lowdown on douching

Douching is washing out the vagina with water, vinegar, or other special rinses. Many women douche because they learned about this practice from their mothers. But moms don't always know best. Today, most doctors advise against douching as it can do more harm than good.

Douching upsets the careful balance of bacteria and organisms inside the vagina. It's normal to have small amounts of yeast and certain types of friendly bacteria in your vagina. But if friendly bacteria are wiped out by douching, your yeast levels can quickly get out of control. When this balance is out of whack, you may experience the symptoms of a yeast infection. So go ahead… ditch those douches, unless, of course, your doctor has suggested them!

The scoop on scented products

Feminine and hygiene products often come primed with perfumes, fragrances, and dyes. You can buy scented sprays, toilet paper, tampons and pads, soap, bubble bath, lotion, laundry detergent, and fabric softeners. But the same chemicals that colour or scent the products can also cause irritation in your vaginal area. And if your skin is already inflamed, you may get a yeast infection.

So the next time you're shopping, leave the scented stuff on the shelves. Opt for unscented products, and avoid bubble baths and strong soaps.

Keeping it clean

Many women are surprised to learn that a vagina is self-cleaning. Its natural discharges help protect you from harmful bacteria. That means it's better to leave your vagina well enough alone. Here are some more hygiene tips:

  • Wash the external part of your vagina with mild soap or even plain water. That's all you need to do to keep yourself clean.
  • Always dry yourself thoroughly after washing, swimming, or exercising.
  • On the toilet, wipe from front to back, not back to front.
  • Give your vagina some breathing space! Avoid tight pants. Wear underwear made of cotton rather than nylon, which can trap dampness.

Practicing first-rate hygiene means you're one step closer to preventing a yeast infection. If you do experience the symptoms of a yeast infection, see your doctor.

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