We all direct a lot of energy toward our vaginas. We have yearly doctor visits, we wax and laser the hair off of it, and we worry about the way it smells and the way it looks.
But the one thing we don’t need to stress about is cleaning our vaginas because, like a self-cleaning oven, your v**ina cleans itself. I know it seems wrong to do nothing to clean your v**ina, but that’s the best thing for it.
“The v**ina is pretty good at cleaning itself,” Dr. Nancy Herta, OB/GYN, told Glamour. “It’s a delicate balance that makes the v**ina hostile to bacteria. If you put stuff in there that changes the pH, you can allow bacteria to overgrow.”
A healthy v**ina usually maintains a slightly acidic environment with a pH of about 3.8 to 4.5. The level of acidity is the result of the presence of good bacteria such as Lactobacilli in the v**ina, which produce hydrogen peroxide and prevent other harmful microorganisms from multiplying there.
When there’s a loss of acidity or disturbance in the vaginal pH, it allows the increase of bacteria and yeast in the v**ina, leading to symptoms like itching, vaginal discharge, and pain when peeing.
Sometimes just letting something be is the most difficult thing to do. It seems strange to not give the v**ina a good scrubbing, especially when it’s releasing a fair amount of discharge. But we need to resist the urge.
“A lot of women think they need to do something about it [the discharge] but it’s part of how your v**ina cleans itself,” Dr. Herta explains.
Discharge changes depending on what stage you’re in during your menstrual cycle. s*x can also affect your discharge so that it gives off a faint scent.
“The sperm can change the pH,” Dr. Herta continues. “But the v**ina will take care of that.”
There’s also no good reason to douche, as it doesn’t do any good and can create dryness and make health problems for women.
“The v**ina is a self-cleansing organ,” says David Eschenbach, M.D, a professor of gynecology at the Univeristy of Washington. “With regular bathing, douching is completely unnecessary.”
All you need is plain old water if you need to clean your lady parts. But if you really want to use soap, use the gentlest you can find and just use it on your labia. Never put anything up inside your v**ina.
When you’re done with your shower, pat your groin dry with a towel before getting dressed so the excess moisture doesn’t sit there stagnating and cause a yeast infection. Keep body washes and perfumed soaps away from your v**ina, and trust that it will do its thing and keep the pH where it should be.
Your v**ina’s got this.