The vagina is designed to keep itself clean with the help of natural secretions (discharge). Find out how to help your vagina keep clean and healthy, and why you don’t need douches or vaginal wipes.
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.
“Generally, good vaginal health is maintained by making sure you’re in good general health,” she explains. “This includes a healthy diet and exercise.
“Normal exercise helps maintain good vaginal function, as walking and running helps the pelvic floor to tone up and ensure good general health.”
Just as oral hygiene entails more than just one thing, vulvar/vaginal hygiene does too!
It really does all start with food!
“Our entire body needs a wide range of nutrients in order to function optimally,” Gersh says. “So, what we eat and drink affects our vulva and vagina in the same way that what we eat and drink affect all parts of our body.”
To maintain the most optimal vulvar and vaginal health, she recommends a diet rich in:
Likely, cleaning your bits is a far less ~involved~ process than you might have guessed.
In the shower
The vagina is a self-cleaning machine.
If you’ve ever seen discharge in your undies — assuming it doesn’t have a new odor or tinge — that’s evidence that your vagina is functioning just right.
The vulva, on the other hand, isn’t self-cleaning
What are the most common early signs of a UTI or yeast infection? How can women manage them before they get worse?
Early signs of a urinary tract infection include a strong, persistent urge to urinate and pain when urinating. Abdominal pain and cloudy, foul-smelling, or bloody urine can also be signs of a UTI. Drinking lots of water can help, and women often report improved symptoms from drinking cranberry juice, though there has never been research to prove it reduces infections. Urinary tract infections can progress quickly and can cause widespread infections, so if your symptoms are getting worse or you’re experiencing fevers or chills, contact your doctor for further care.
Signs of a vaginal yeast infection include itching and burning in the vagina and vulva area; the burning can be especially prevalent during intercourse or while urinating. Other signs include redness, swelling, soreness, or pain in the vulva area and thick, white, odor-free discharge resembling cottage cheese. Cleaning the area with warm water and avoiding irritants like feminine hygiene products is crucial. Because treatment is usually based on the severity of symptoms and it is important to rule out other potential infections, I recommend you contact your medical provider for treatment.