How To Safely Clean Your Vagina And Vulva: A Complete Guide

how to clean your vagina safely

The vagina is the most sensitive part of the female body, It is the part where there is always wetness, and all kinds of bacteria, good and bad, are present. Therefore, there are equal chances of infection with a bit of carelessness. 

So your vagina needs regular cleaning. But the thing to note is that you do not need to worry about cleaning the vagina because your vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Your vagina does not even require unique products for cleaning. Instead, say that your vagina does not need any particular cleaning product. Instead, the vagina is constantly active to keep itself clean. 

Some people may want to clean the vulva, the outer part of your genitals that surrounds the entrance to the vagina. Doing so can help many people feel clean, and as a result, it also makes you feel more confident.

Therefore, Gently clean the lips of your vulva (labia majora and labia minora). And it just needs gentle cleansing. Excessive cleaning of the vagina can also have adverse effects.

Attempting to clean the vagina with douches, hand soap, or other similar products can cause vaginal inflammation and infection, which can affect and change the pH of the vagina. Many people have a lot of confusion and misunderstandings about it, while some people get wrong results due to less information.

And that's why, in this article, we will discuss the anatomy of the vagina, how to clean the vagina safely, and what cleaning methods to avoid.

Do You Need To Wash Your Vagina?

So the answer is yes and no. But still, you need to wash your vulva. So let's first recap some basic anatomy.

The vagina is the internal canal inside your body.

The term "vulva" refers to the external parts surrounding the vagina, such as:

  • Clitoris
  • Clitoral Hood
  • Vaginal opening
  • Inner and outer labia (vaginal lips)

It's a good idea to wash the outer part of your vulva. But don't mistake cleaning the inside of your vagina, especially with soap or other harmful gel.

Washing inside the vagina can also cause a variety of health problems. And nobody else can wash your vagina, and it's self-cleansing.

Your vagina cleans itself with natural secretions by maintaining the proper pH balance and keeping itself healthy.

There are a lot of "good" bacteria in your vagina. These bacteria maintain the ideal pH balance in your vagina, which is slightly acidic, and protect your vagina from all kinds of infections and external threats.

The acidic pH makes it harder for "bad" bacteria to infect your vagina.

You disrupt the bacterial balance when you use soaps, sprays, gels, and even water to wash the inside of your vagina. It can result in bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and other problems and irritation.

Washing your vagina can also affect your vagina's ability to clean itself. So if you want a clean vagina, leave it alone to clean it on its own!

Difference Between Vagina And Vulva

The vagina is the inner part of the female genitals.

And the vulva refers to the outer part of the vagina, which includes structures such as the clitoris, labia majora, labia minora, and the vaginal opening.

The vagina is an internal organ; like other internal organs, it does not require cleaning.

A complex multitude of good bacteria and other microbes help keep the vagina healthy. Washing with particularly harsh soaps or douches can put the vaginal pH out of balance, increasing the risk of infection, irritation, and unpleasant odor.

Does The Vagina Need To Be Cleaned?

The vagina and vulva produce a variety of fluids that are important for overall health; your vagina takes care of itself and does all it can to keep itself healthy.

People should not try to eliminate all vaginal odor by rinsing the vagina. A healthy vagina naturally has a mild odor due to the good bacteria, as it has to prepare itself to fight off a variety of infections.

And the truth is that even washing the vagina will not cure the vaginal infection. Sometimes, it can make them worse and aggravate the condition with irritation. Using harsh soaps can dry out the delicate tissue of the vagina, allowing tiny sludges to leak out, making it easier for dangerous bacteria to infect the vagina.

Vaginal Washing Risks

It is a sensitive topic on which new research is constantly being done. And all research has found that washing your vagina increases your risk of various health problems rather than benefits.

A study on women in 2013-14 concluded that women who douche frequently found that the practice significantly increased the risk of preterm labor and pelvic inflammatory disease. Douching is associated with a higher risk of several adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes, including:

  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Low birth weight baby
  • Chorioamnionitis is a type of infection of the membranes around the baby
  • Preterm birth

Other risks of vaginal cleanings, such as douching, include:

  • Vaginitis
  • Cervical cancer
  • Endometritis is inflammation of the uterus
  • Increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Yeast infection
  • Unwanted Vaginal pain, etc.

Although a woman can clean her vulva, its proximity to the vagina means any cleaning product can enter the vagina. Detergents or other harsh cleaning products can also harm the vulva.

How To Clean Your Vulva Safely

The vagina is a self-cleaning sensitive organ; people don't need to clean it. Regular douching is unnecessary.

People can help keep the vaginal area clean and healthy with a few precautions:

  • Pregnancy with a single sexual partner and using barrier methods such as condoms to reduce the risk of STIs.
  • Keeping the vaginal area as dry as possible may include changing underwear when it gets wet with sweat, menstrual blood, or other fluids.
  • It is good to urinate after sex; this can prevent a UTI.
  • Cleaning and wiping from front to back after urinating or defecating.
  • Avoid having vaginal sex directly after anal sex, as this can spread bacteria from the anus to the vagina. Your anus contains harmful bacteria, and dangerous bacteria can stick to your partner's penis or your dildo during anal penetration. Therefore caution is necessary.
  • People can wash the outer area with warm water to clean the vulva. They can use mild, fragrance-free soap if they wish. You should thoroughly wash the vulva after sex, and then the area should be patted dry or wiped with a clean, soft cloth.
  • It is important not to insert soap into the vagina accidentally; it is not necessary to use soap, which is also explicitly labeled by the manufacturers as harmful to the genitals.

Vaginal Cleansing Strategies To Avoid Infection, Pain, Irritation, etc.

You should avoid using the following products to avoid infection, pain, and irritation:

  • Douches should be avoided, even those that manufacturers claim are safe or natural.
  • Feminine deodorant spray
  • Perfume
  • Detergent soap
  • Scented soap

What About Vaginal Steaming

Some alternative health sites advocate vaginal steaming, which involves taking steam baths infused with various herbs.

  • These herbs are believed to cleanse the vagina and improve the health of the uterus.
  • There is little evidence to suggest that vaginal steaming is effective. Steam cannot penetrate the vaginal tissue or reach anywhere near the uterus.
  • Additionally, some doctors and experts say that the herb can irritate the vaginal or vulva tissue and that scalding steam can damage the vaginal tissue and cause severe burns.

Some articles published on the Internet or in the past state that many different women have tried using vaginal steam. As a result, they develop vaginal problems.

That is to say, there are many questions about the reliability of vaginal steam, and it is a matter of discussion and controversy. And this is what some experts also believe.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Vaginal Wash or Vaginal Cleansing?

You can do several simple things to keep the vagina and vulva healthy and safe.

Be Careful And Wipe From Front To Back

People generally make common mistakes. Many people wipe from back to front after the toilet, which can spread harmful bacteria from your anus to your vagina. And this can lead to many types of infections in your vagina. Therefore, always keep in mind that after defecation or while cleaning, always wipe from front to back.

Does Your Partner Try For Any Sexual Activity?

Front to back, this rule doesn't just apply to wiping. Instead, it should always be ensured that nothing that goes in or near your anus should later enter or be near your vagina unless you clean it thoroughly first.

And that's especially important when it comes to sex and masturbation: Toys, fingers, tongue, penis, and anything else that's been in or near your anus should be washed before going into your vagina.

For example, You prefer to enter the anus with sex toys, and then do not take the same toys out of the anus and insert them directly into the vagina. Or your partner is having anal sex with you, and then he doesn't enter your vagina immediately after taking his penis out of your anus. And if it does, make sure to put a condom on the penis before entering the vagina.

 Be Sure To Urinate After Sex.

It is important to urinate after sex to push any germs out of your urinary tract.

During sex, germs can come into contact with your urinary tract, a small hole in your vagina just above the entrance of the penis leading to your urinary tract. Urinating after sex helps in flushing out those harmful germs.

If you do not urinate after sex, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Choose Products That Come Into Contact With Your Vagina Wisely, Including Your Undergarment:

  • If something gets into your vagina, check the contents before using it. You should avoid scented lubricants, condoms, and tampons.
  • The pads used during menstruation should always be of good quality.

Always Wear Cotton Underwear

Cotton underwear is gentle and comfortable on your sensitive pubic area, and it's breathable, letting air out instead of building up and absorbing moisture.

Nylon and other synthetic fabrics can irritate the sensitive skin around your vulva, causing irritation, rashes, and tissue damage in the vaginal area.

Change Sweaty Or Wet Clothing As Soon As Possible

Moist, warm conditions are ideal for harmful bacteria to breed. To prevent this bacteria from harming and infecting your vagina, replace your wet swimsuit or sweaty gym pants as soon as possible.

When To Contact Or Consult A Doctor

The vagina usually has a natural odor, which is caused by good bacteria and protects against infection. But if a sudden change in smell is experienced, one should immediately contact the doctor, especially if the scent is powerful.

A noxious smell often signals you. And the odor won't go away even after repeated cleanings, and it can worsen the infection. Therefore consult a doctor immediately.

Symptoms of your vaginal yeast infection, or thrush, may include:

  • Vaginal irritation
  • Discharge with a chunky texture
  • White coating on the lining of the vulva
  • Pain, burning, or bleeding during intercourse
  • Strong odor
  • Vaginitis
  • Vaginal swelling
  • Fishy smell from the vagina
  • Itching inside and upper part of the vagina
  • Pain while urinating
  • Pain, burning, or bleeding during masturbation
  • Blisters, sores, or warts around your genitals
  • Green, white, yellow, or gray discharge
  • Thick cheese-like discharge
  • Persistent vaginal itching
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding

It is also a good idea to consult a doctor about your vaginal health:- If you have any other questions and concerns about your vagina. As well as for routine Pap smears to check for cervical cancer.

Conclusion

There is neither a need nor any medical reason to clean the vagina. Douching and other cleaning methods may do more harm than benefit, and there is little evidence that they tend a person's vulva or vagina effectively and without risk.

If a person wants to clean her vulva, she can use warm water or mild soap.

If a person is experiencing unusual discharge, itching, pain, or an unpleasant vaginal odor, they should see a doctor immediately. These are among the first signs of infection that will require treatment, and diagnosing it early can prevent serious risks.

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