New Delhi: In today’s day and age, as women continue to balance their professional lives along with domestic responsibilities, they tend to overlook the importance of their own health and well-being. Feminine hygiene is one such necessity often neglected while keeping up with their busy lifestyle.
Not just women, it is necessary for teens to be introduced to the importance and methods of keeping their intimate areas clean and infection-free. It is imperative for them to be aware of how to maintain personal hygiene in order to stay healthy by avoiding vaginal problems like – abnormal vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation, vaginal dryness, unnatural odour, vaginal infections and long-term fatal diseases, including cervical or ovarian cancer.
While the intimate region of a female’s body has a natural self-cleaning system, it is still important to take good care of it through hygiene practices, given that it’s the most sensitive zone. Following are some simple ways as suggested by Dr Lipsa Shah Ayurveda Consultant, Saifee Hospital, through which women can incorporate feminine hygiene into their routine to have a healthier life.
- Ensure proper cleaning: Despite its self-cleaning system; it is essential to regularly and thoroughly clean the private parts using water, or mild cleansers. Moreover, refrain from over cleaning, or using fragrant products with strong chemicals so as to avoid irritating the sensitive skin. Instead, use hygiene products with well-balanced pH levels as excessive amounts of soap can cause infections. Also, opt for showers rather than baths because the latter can increase the chances of an infection. There is a wide range of hygiene products available in the market but make sure to consult your doctor before buying or using any intimate wash, wipes or other feminine hygiene products.
- Wipe correctly: Once you are done using the washroom and taking a shower, follow the thumb rule of wiping front to back in order to avoid letting bacteria from your anal region move towards the vagina, which may lead to urinary infections. Make sure that you also wash your hands every time before and after using the washroom, so that no germs are passed from the hands to the genitalia.
- Wear comfortable clothing: It is always recommended to avoid wearing tight clothes, and stick to breathable innerwear that allow air flow, preferably made of cotton with crotch linings of the same material. Do not wear tight clothes like spandex or synthetic pants for long, and change immediately after working out, else the sweat can potentially lead to vaginal infections. Use clean cotton based underwear for daily use. Make sure to change your clothes and underwear since they may get sweaty after a sport or physical activity.
- Be careful while using public restrooms: The need to use a restroom can arise anywhere, at any time. Public restrooms are used by several people day in and day out, which increases the risk of getting infections. Therefore, one should always be cautious while using them. There are small and portable disinfectants available for women to use in such public restrooms to avoid infections.
- Hygiene during menstruation: Every woman wants to feel clean, odourless and comfortable during that time of the month. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to habitually change your sanitary pad or tampon by being stringent about not wearing it for more than five to six hours. Also, refrain from using scented products, thereby allowing the reproductive tracts to clean the vaginal area on their own. Most importantly, avoid engaging in douching to prevent pelvic inflammatory diseases. It is also advised to not clean the vagina from the inside as it may increase the risk of cervical cancer. Instead, just use warm water and mild soap to clean the area and feel fresh.
- Intimate hygiene during summers: Our bodies tend to perspire more during summers, increasing the chances of bacteria infections due to sweat and rashes. Make sure to keep your intimate area clean and dry to prevent rashes, infections, and odour.
- Hygiene pre and post-coitus: Safe and protected sexual intercourse is always recommended to safeguard yourself from any STDs. Wash your intimate areas with clean warm water to avoid getting infected before and after coitus.
- Doctor visits: Apart from regular check-ups, stay vigilant for your intimate health. Sometimes the body may experience changes physically or hormonally, leading to changes in menstrual cycle or vaginal discharge. Do not hesitate to contact or visit your doctor in the case of discomfort, infection, medical emergency or anything observed differently than normal.
Feminine hygiene is important to maintain overall health and should be part of one’s everyday hygiene rituals. The availability of different hygiene products has facilitated and helped in keeping the intimate areas clean. However, as all bodies are different, consulting your doctors before using any of these is always recommended. These tips can be kept in mind to ensure a healthy feminine routine and lifestyle.