I honestly did not picture myself writing about this topic due to the sensitivity and obviousness of it but I realize the importance of sharing what I know as truly good habits of taking care of our vaginal health. In my day-to-day open conversations and observations I’ve had with people, I realized how some bad practices still persist, and it’s time we address them in a constructive way and in an open dialogue.
We’re not here to judge anyone but rather educate. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and actually admit that I’d been guilty of a number of these bad habits when I didn’t know better, but I’ve learned from my mistakes and now I want you to experience the same.
Here are some of my insights and practices to help you with taking care of your vagina:
- Do not directly try on panties from stores when you’re out lingerie shopping. You have no idea who have tried those and what you might be in contact with by wearing it. If you really want or need to try on the panties, it is a better practice to be either wearing a boxer type of panties or keep your own panties on under the one you’re trying so it will not be in contact with your skin.
- Always, always wash your new-bought lingerie before wearing. I do not care if the garment came from a new stock and comes in a plastic packaging. Make it a must to wash it before wearing it. Just because it is new does it mean it is guaranteed clean. Also, please use softer laundry detergents with your delicates. Not only it is to make sure your fabrics live longer but also to ensure you’re not in contact with harsh chemicals.
- Change your panties as often as possible, no matter how much you think it’s not dirty and especially if you have sweated on it like right after swimming or hitting the gym. Some people also have this notion that just because you have no plans of going out does it give them merit to not change their undergarments. You are inviting the bacteria to cook up under there, missy.
- It’s totally up to you if you want to sport a bush or not but in case you plan on having them off, make sure to use clean new razor if shaving or you’d go for a trusted waxing tech who will use gloves or is reputable for sanitation practices. I have had the bad fortune of getting waxed down there by a tech who clearly didn’t know what she was doing (I think I was literally her first ever customer for brazilian wax) and used her bare hands and even got my hairs tangled to each other. It was a nightmare, you guys.
- With waxing, I usually prefer using extra virgin coconut oil instead of shaving gels or creams because the latter irritates my skin, makes me itchy afterwards and makes my growing hair even thicker. At least coconut oil gives me a cleaner shave, as well as moisture right after having the hair off. Do not ever attempt to do a dry shave if you do not wish to scar yourself or cause any bumps or ingrown hairs!
- Drink lots of water. Water is not only good for your skin, it’s an overall health wonder. By being regularly hydrated, you’re allowing your body to expel all the toxins out of your body. Not to mention, a well-hydrated body also has a well-hydrated, healthy vagina. Dehydration leads to dryness down there, too. And when it’s dry, it can interrupt the pH balance and might lead to things such as irritation, itching, burning sensations, bumps and even yeast infections. Better be hydrated than sorry, eh?
- Wipe yourself dry each time you pee. It is not at all a good thing to put on your panties right after you pee without washing yourself. Always make sure as well to pat yourself dry down there to avoid making a moist environment under and creating an ideal habitat for yeast. As much as possible, use clean towels to dry yourself instead of tissues because those are bleached and treated with lots of chemicals that will throw off the pH balance as well. Only use tissues as a last resort.
- And while we’re at it, please stay away from vaginal wipes. Always keep in mind that the area is very sensitive and you can’t just introduce foreign materials to it every time without expecting any consequences.
- Do consider laying off of excessive use of feminine wash products as well. And I use the word “excessive” instead of completely omitting it, as I do understand the need to use it when it’s necessary and while you’re in the shower. But when I say lay off, it means you don’t have to wash yourself with it every time you pee. You’re damaging your vagina and creating dryness. Stop buying the idea that you have to use these kinds of products to make sure you are clean.
- Please note as well that vaginal wipes and feminine washes often come in heavy scents/fragrance because of the ingrained idea that we should smell like flowers and sunshine down there. Two things: 1, the natural vagina smell obviously doesn’t resemble anything close to flowers or sunshine and 2, heavy fragrances irritates the skin.
- Consider giving yourself a break from wearing panties and actually let it air out from time to time. Panties can trap heat and create moisture in that area that makes us a little bit uncomfortable. Give yourself a treat on the weekends or when you’re going to sleep to abandon them for a couple of hours.
- I know you might have heard it, but for the love of God, ask your partner to wear a condom when you’re having penetrative sex. Do NOT normalize going at it raw just because having one on doesn’t make it feel as good or because it dries you up. Research on different types of condoms and find one that works for you. There are a-plenty of them, sis. Or if not, help yourself with some good ol’ lube as a solution to the dryness. Just PLEASE practice safe sex. One contact with the wrong person could cost you your vaginal health.
- In relation to that, also remember to pee right before and right after sex. FLUSH OUT THAT TOXINS, sis.
- I know this one seems absurd but try and ask new sexual partners for their most recent STD test results (and for your current, kindly ask them to take one as well). This applies not only to those having multiple partners but even those who are monogamous. Take control of who gets to enter you, whether or not it is done with or without a condom. Think of your vagina as a precious glass house. Would you let bandits who carry some dangerous baggages camp out in there? Of course not.
- If you are an avid user of sex toys, please make sure that you are cleaning these things well. And no, DO NOT clean it with rubbing alcohol. I’ve seen a couple of sex toy advertisers online who market their toys saying you can clean it off with a rubbing alcohol but please use be aware that there are actual cleaning products made to clean certain materials like this. Not only is it about properly sanitizing your toys but also preserving their quality.
- If you are experiencing something unusual (excessive vaginal discharge, itching or burning, or discharge of unusual color, bleeding that lasts for more than 4-7 days or outside of your cycle, moodiness/weight gain/fatigue/breaking out from birth control), GET IT CHECKED. Do not make it a habit to put it off until it gets worse. Yes, sometimes it gets better after a couple of days but be fair with yourself and know that when it’s time to hit the doctor’s office, you do. I know a lot of women from my life who put it off either because they’re scared to know what’s happening or they’re embarrassed to be examined down there. Listen: the point is to know, and to cure it if there really is something. Put your health upfront and center.
- It pays as well to be a little bit proactive and get yourself checked regularly. Check ups for STDs or Pap Smear is good just to know if everything’s in good shape down there. Tests are not only there when you’re not feeling good, it’s for preventive measures as well.
- Give your vagina extra attention when you’re on your period, focusing on cleaning it a bit more than the usual. We all use different things to catch the blood, but no matter what it is, be attentive and replace it when it is time to replace. Just because your sanitary pad is not full of blood does it mean you should keep it on until it does. That’s just unhygienic. Be especially careful with tampons as well.
These are just some of my personal insights on taking care of your yoni, I’m sure you have your own too that are just as informative as mine and I’d love to know more about it. If you’ve got something to share, drop it in the comments box below.