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Vaginal and Vulvar Hygiene Tips

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The vagina cleanses itself naturally. Photo Courtesy

The vagina is a tube of muscle inside a woman’s body that runs from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vaginal opening.

The external sex organs, which are called the vulva, surround the vaginal opening.

How to keep it clean

When showering or bathing, wash your vulva with warm water and mild or unscented soap. Make sure the water is not too hot and remember to rinse off all the soap.

Separate your labia and let the warm soapy water clean all around the clitoral hood and between your labia. This will rinse off any secretions that get stuck in between skin folds.

Rinse completely and pat dry your vulva with a soft dry towel.

In between baths or showers, you may wish to use a facecloth or a peri-care small plastic bottle filled with warm (not hot) water that squirts to clean your vulva. This plastic water bottle is also good to use during your period.

Maintaining a healthy vulva and vagina will help prevent infections and discomfort. Unusual changes in vaginal discharge is a sign that there might be an issue.

The vagina cleanses itself naturally. Photo Courtesy

While on your period, change your tampon/pad often. The vagina cleanses itself naturally. The cells in the vagina keep it at a normal pH so you should never douche or use any sprays in your vagina (unless your health care provider prescribes it).

Use mild soap and warm water to clean around the opening to your vagina. Do NOT place the soap into your vagina.

Take sit baths daily, if prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Remember that NOT all vaginal odors are caused by an infection. Poor hygiene (not washing your vulva/vagina regularly with warm water and soap) can cause an unpleasant smell.

Wearing tight-fitting clothing or underwear made of nylon that doesn’t breathe can cause sweat and bacteria to get trapped which can also cause an unpleasant odor.

Felicity Gitonga

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