Apr 23, 2016
THIS Is the Right Way to Clean Your Vagina By Korin Miller
No doubt personal hygiene is important to you, so it makes sense that you’d want to keep your vagina clean too. But experts say you should proceed with caution when it comes to scrubbing up below the belt.
“The vagina is pretty good at cleaning itself,” says Nancy Herta, M.D., an ob-gyn at Michigan State University. Here’s why: Your vagina has a low pH, which prevents the growth of bad bacteria. “It’s a delicate balance that makes the vagina hostile to bacteria,” Herta says. “If you put stuff in there that changes the pH, you can allow bacteria to overgrow.” And that can cause yeast or other vaginal infections to form.Herta points out that it’s completely normal to have a vaginal discharge, sometimes with a slight odor, that gets heavier and lighter throughout your cycle. “A lot of women think they need to do something about it, but it’s part of how your vagina cleans itself,” she says. You might also notice a slight odor after sex which, again, Herta says is normal. “The sperm can change the pH,” she explains. “But the vagina will take care of that.”While you’ve probably seen different products at your local drugstore that swear they’ll help keep you squeaky clean down there, Herta says it’s best to avoid them altogether—especially when it comes to douches. “If you douche, it changes the pH, making it higher and allowing other kinds of bacteria to overgrow” she says. Douching can also dry out your vagina and make sex more painful, she says, making this a hygiene habit you really want to avoid.So, how should you clean your vagina? Herta discourages sticking anything up there, but says you can use a really mild soap for your labia while you’re in the shower. When you’re done, pat the area dry with a towel and make sure it's dry before you put on your underwear since excess moisture in the vaginal area can lead to a yeast infection.But, overall, Herta says it’s best to think of your vagina like a self-cleaning oven and let it do its thing.