Intimate hygiene of a woman – basic rules
The hygiene of the female genital organs is part of the personal hygiene of every woman and is extremely important for her self-esteem and for the health of the genital organs. Ways to properly maintain intimate hygiene should be available to teenage girls, but for some parents this is a taboo topic. Lack of or incorrect hygiene habits can lead to genital infections such as bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, fungal infections, and urinary tract infections, for example. frequent cystitis.
The vagina (vagina) is a muscular-elastic tube 8-10 cm long, which establishes a connection between the external genitalia and the cervix. The term vulva refers to the external genital organs – the labia minora and labia majora, the clitoris, the pubic eminence, the Bartholin glands, the vestibule of the vagina, the vestibule bulbs. A characteristic feature of the vagina is its self-cleaning function due to the flowing vaginal secretions, while the vulva needs proper daily cleaning.
The environment in the vagina is acidic, the pH is usually between 3.8 and 4.5. Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and others are important in maintaining the natural acidic environment of the vagina. Using glycogen, lactobacilli produce lactic acid and maintain an acidic pH in the vagina. In addition, they also produce substances with antimicrobial activity. Violation of the acidic microflora in the vagina leads to the growth of pathogenic microorganisms, alkalization of the environment and the development of the inflammatory process.
There are several basic rules for maintaining vulvar hygiene that support reproductive health and prevent the occurrence of certain inflammatory diseases:
- Intimate dressing of the vulva at least once a day, and preferably twice a day in the morning and evening. Wash only with warm water or soap that does not contain perfumes. The external genitalia are thoroughly washed, when using soap, make sure that it does not get into the vagina. Perfumery substances contained in soap, when used systematically, violate the acidic environment in the vagina and predispose to the development of infections.
- Cleanse the genitals in the right direction – this should be done correctly in the direction from the vulva to the anus. Reverse brushing can transfer bacteria from the anus to the vagina, where bacteria do not normally grow, and cause inflammation.
- Avoid using intimate wipes, deodorants and shower gels – the use of such products is absolutely not necessary to maintain good intimate hygiene. Normally, the genitals have an individual physiological smell, which should not bother women. The use of such shower gels and deodorants containing perfumes can only lead to itching, irritation, redness in the vulva, can upset the acid balance in the vagina and predispose the body to vaginal infections.
- Avoid using vaginal douches – Vaginal douches are plastic devices with a nozzle for injecting water or other liquids into the vagina for cleaning purposes. The use of a vaginal douche is not recommended for healthy women, as it disturbs the vaginal flora.
- The use of light, cotton underwear is recommended – the use of thongs can cause the transfer of infectious agents from the anus to the vagina. The most suitable underwear is made from soft, breathable materials that do not burn and provide oxygen.
- In the summer season, it is recommended to frequently change wet swimwear for dry ones. This prevents the development of a fungal infection.
Intimate hygiene during menstruation is more specific. During this period, more frequent daily washing of the genitals is recommended. Sanitary pads are recommended to be changed every 2-4 hours, as prolonged exposure can lead to infection.
For tampons, this replacement period is every 2 hours, especially during the first days of menstruation, although obstetricians and gynecologists are not the preferred alternative to tampons during menstruation. They should not be used at night or for a longer period of time, as they can lead to toxic shock syndrome, a severe, life-threatening staph infection.
With an active sexual life, there are also some rules for good intimate hygiene. Both before and after sexual intercourse, it is recommended to wash the genitals of both partners. The use of condoms prevents the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. When practicing vaginal and anal sex at the same time, it is correct that vaginal sex precede anal sex to prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
Intimate hygiene is extremely important for the reproductive health of every woman. For this reason, methods and the rules for cleaning the genitals should be taught to adolescents from an early age.