Maybe you think you know all you need in order to keep your vagina as healthy as possible. But what if you’re wrong? Read on to learn some things you can do to maintain a healthy vagina.
Working out is important for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles will help you have stronger orgasms and more bladder control.
Wear Cotton Underwear or None At All
Your vagina prefers cotton underwear, which is why most underwear has a strip of cotton fabric in the crotch. It breathes and absorbs moisture. Feel free to wear no underwear at all (going commando) when you’re around the house says Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University. However, when you’re at the gym, wear underwear for an extra layer between you and the gym equipment that is potentially full of germs.
Of course you’re aware that condoms are good for protecting against pregnancy and STDs, but a study also found that using condoms helps keep the pH level of your vagina balanced, allowing good bacteria to survive. Why is this important? Those bacteria help prevent bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections.
You don’t need to — the vagina actually cleans itself. Studies have also shown that intravaginal hygiene products can increase your risk of STDs, infections, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Vaginal dryness may be an issue for you if you take certain medications, such as antidepressants, hormonal birth control, or antihistamines. It can also occur after pregnancy or right before menopause. Be sure to lubricate before having sex in order to avoid painful sex that can cause abrasions. Be open with your partner about your needs.
Be Cautious About Antibiotic Use
These drugs can kill some of the good bacteria that keep your vagina healthy. If you need to take an antibiotic to combat an infection, do so — just be sure to fill up on probiotics to keep it healthy.
Use Soap With Caution
Scented body wash doesn’t belong anywhere near your genitals, says Minkin. Soap can be incredibly drying to the sensitive skin around your vulva. You actually only need to rinse with warm water to keep it clean down there. If you’re uncomfortable going without soap, use a gentle soap that is unscented.