Ladies, here’s a fun fact: your clitoris alone has about 8,000 nerve endings, compared to the 4,000 nerve endings on a penis. If that’s not reason enough to take extra-special care of your lady bits, we don’t know what is! Vaginal health is an often ignored topic of discussion. And while you can live without it, do you really want to?
Accept It Or Not Taking Care Of Your Vagina Cannot Be Ignored
If you’ve ever fallen victim to one ugly infection or another - or just want to keep things healthy down there - read on for 9 easy steps to keep your “princess of pleasure” healthy and joyous!
1. Gorge On Yoghurt
Mom was right -a bowl of yogurt a day keeps the gynae away. Not only does this magic potion help cure the largely prevalent yeast infections, it also keeps your gut healthy and clean. It’s no secret that yogurt is loaded with healthy bacteria, or live cultures also known as probiotics - these live cultures help maintain your vagina’s slightly-acidic pH levels. As an added benefit, you can pick a yogurt that is calorie-free! Throw in some fresh fruits and nuts for a healthy breakfast.
2. Stick To Cotton Underwear
As pretty as lacy lingerie looks on that mannequin, and as sexy as it feels come date night with your partner, your nether regions don’t like them all the time. Synthetic being an artificial fibre that’s high on thread-count doesn’t allow your skin to breathe, leading to infections like candidiasis. So, keep the lacy ones for a special night in (where you won’t have to keep them on for long) and dig out those cute cotton ones for every other time!
3. Go Commando
Gynecologists world over recommend going to bed without any and all undergarments. And you thought that was applicable only for your pokey bra? Freedom must be whole, we say!
4. Stay Away From Douching
Yes, tampons and condoms leave some residue behind inside the vaginal cavity. That does not, however, mean that we take it upon ourselves to clean our vessel. What most of us ought to know is: our vagina functions like a boss. With the monthly cycle and normal discharge, any and all residue is also flushed out. So, go ahead, let your period and protection choices be devoid of worries - you can leave the rest to the “V-dawg”!
5. Steer clear of soaps and perfumed body washes
Meera Verma, a consultant gynecologist at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, says our vaginas aren’t as demanding as the rest of our body. “What most women don’t know is that the vagina is self-cleaning. It doesn’t require the help of soaps or body washes. But, keep in mind that we’re referring here only to the vagina, and not the vulva, which is the outer region. The vulva does need cleaning, but not as often as every day, and certainly not with soapy products; they’re too dehydrating. Instead, use a feminine care product like VWash twice or thrice a week, especially the morning after sex,” she suggests.
6. Go easy on the antibiotics
The basic idea of consuming antibiotics is to kill bacteria. In the process, however, these pills end up killing our gut’s good bacteria too, causing the yeast in our tract to multiply, and hence increasing the chances of yeast infection. So go easy on those pills!
7. Work those pelvic muscles
As always, the solution to most of our problems lies in exercising. To keep your pelvic floor and vag muscles strong, though, you’ll have to add Kegel exercises to your workout routine at least twice a week. (P.S.: Kegel exercises not only lead to a stronger and healthier vagina but also better sex!)
8. Keep it moisture-free
All bacteria need a warm and damp environment to grow. And our mission is to not give them that! Travelling or not, keep a roll of toilet paper handy for a healthy vagina - always, always.
9. Show up for your gynae's appointment
Aaah, yes. One of the most essential yet oft-ignored steps to vaginal health. Do your future self a huge favor and for a healthy vagina show up at the gynecologist’s clinic every six months for a thorough checkup.
10. Do Not Skip Using Condoms (Especially while having sex with new partners)
This seems quite obvious. Having sex with your new partner exposes your vagina to a high risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). Using condoms not only ensures safety but also maintains the pH level during sex which means keeping the good bacteria in your vagina healthy. So, the next time, no matter how much you want to have sex without using a condom, use it anyway!
11. If You Love Riding Bicycles Then You Need To Pay Extra Attention
If riding a bicycle is a part of your daily routine then your vaginal health is exposed to risks like genital numbness, annoying tingling, and pain. However, don’t panic! Just wear padded cycling shorts to keep your vagina pain free and carefree.
12. While Having Sex Always Go From Front To Back
If you enjoy having fun both the ways then it is advised that you should first do vaginal and then go for anal sex. Choosing to have anal sex first can later risk transferring the bacteria to the vagina. This can lead to infections which you obviously don’t want to have just for one-time pleasure.
So make sure you never have vaginal sex after having anal sex. The other way round is always a healthier option!
MUST-READ: 8 Things Every Woman Should Know About Sexual Health
MUST-READ: Have a Clean Period! 6 Commonly Overlooked Menstrual Hygiene Tips
This story was updated in March 2019.