When it comes to personal hygiene, there are many misconceptions. Certain actions can weaken the vulva and the vaginal flora, especially if they are repeated every day. Washcloth, hair removal, unsuitable soaps … Here are the mistakes you should not make to take care of this sensitive area.
1. Wash too often
To have perfect hygiene, some women wash their private parts several times a day. In fact, too frequent a cleaning routine is aggressive on the mucous membranes and disrupts the balance of the vaginal flora, which opens the way for infections. Likewise, “douching” is contraindicated. They help weaken the vaginal mucosa, make it vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, chlamydia) and promote bacterial vaginosis. An intimate toilet per day is more than enough (possibly two during the menstrual period).
2. Use the same shower gel for body and vagina
Very bad idea! The vaginal pH is between 3.5 and 4.5, that of conventional shower gels is generally much higher, which disrupts the natural balance of the intimate flora. Also avoid foaming antiseptics such as scented cosmetics (gels, soaps, bath products or personal hygiene products). Prefer a mild soap, without perfume. But be careful, wash only the outer part of the vagina and not the inner part as well as the labia minora and the vulva, which react badly to soaps.
3. Clean the inside of the vagina
As mentioned above: you should never clean the inside of the vagina. The vagina defends itself very well on its own, thanks to the secretions and the natural flora that lives there. The right gesture? Wash only the outer part of the genitals, that is, the outside of the labia majora, without going beyond the vulva.
See also: 6 things your vagina doesn't like at all
4. Use a washcloth
Washing your private parts with a washcloth is a terrible idea, because it is a breeding ground for germs. Even well rinsed, it promotes the proliferation of microbes. Exit also the loofah sponge or the shower flower, too irritating for the area. It is therefore preferable to wash with your hand.
5. Fully depilate
Of course, everyone is free to wax according to their personal preferences, whether it is full bikini or Brazilian bikini. However, there are also some drawbacks to be aware of. Many women opt for full pubic hair removal for aesthetic reasons, especially since the social pressure of smooth skin still weighs on female bodies.
Pubic hair is not there by accident! They protect the vulva and the labia majora from external aggressions and also participate in their sensitivity. The methods used to remove the hairs traumatize the tissues on which they grow. Shaving causes micro-cuts in the skin which can become infected.
Read also: Women wax their pubis less and that's great news
6. Wipe from back to front after urinating
After urinating, always wipe from front to back to prevent E. coli (intestinal bacteria) from migrating to the vulva and causing infections such as cystitis or vaginitis. Moreover, no need to rub violently! Dabbing the area is enough, especially on a fragile vulva.
7. Keeping your periodic protections too long
Sanitary napkins can be kept for up to eight hours, and tampons should be changed every four hours. The same goes for the menstrual cup, which also blocks the blood in the vagina: it should not be kept beyond 12 hours. Keeping intravaginal sanitary protection too long could make it easier for the toxin TSST-1, responsible for toxic shock syndrome, to enter organs such as the liver, lungs and kidneys. It is therefore necessary to be very careful in its use of intra-vaginal hygiene protections and to have the right behaviors. For the night, it is better to favor a towel or period panties that allow the flow to flow normally.
See also: our complete guide to the best period panties
8. Going to the toilet after sex
While the urge to cuddle for hours often outweighs the urge to urinate, this precautionary measure should not be overlooked. Not going to urinate after sex increases your risk of UTI. During sexual intercourse, germs can travel from the anus to the vulva to travel up to the length of the urethra, which connects the bladder to the outside of the body, and therefore promotes a urinary tract infection. Going to urinate therefore allows you to "wash" the urethra by eliminating these germs.
9. Wear synthetic underwear
Nothing better than pretty lace lingerie in which you feel beautiful and sexy. However, be aware that constantly wearing synthetic underwear, no matter how beautiful, can have a negative effect on the health of the vagina. They promote persistence of humidity and maceration, thus disturbing the balance of the vaginal flora. Prefer cotton underwear to those made of synthetic fabric. Change them every day and when they are wet. Likewise, quickly remove any wet clothing (eg: swimsuit). Last tip: do not wear panties under your pajamas at night to let your vulva breathe!