Published on October 5th, 2015 | by Yashodhara Ghosh
GET PREACHY: Clean, down there!
You may tell everyone that cleanliness is next to godliness, but how clean are you, down there? While we’re all great sticklers for personal hygiene, our private parts often fall in our blind spot.
If you have ever found yourself squirming awkwardly in public places or fallen victim to a desperate, embarrassing itch down there, read this for help. The great thing about our vagina is that it knows how to take care of itself. Glands inside the cervix and vagina discharge their own natural ‘soap’ in the form of fluids that flow out, taking dead skin cells and other dirt and debris with them. But our desperate urge to keep our private parts private makes us confine them (underwear, panty lining, pants), causing the discharge to congeal and remain in the folds and crevasses as a whitish, thick residue. It’s basically a combination of sweat, dead skin cells and oils secreted by the skin. I call it gunk. Doctors call it smegma. And regardless of what you choose to call it, it is imperative that you remove this from your vaginal environment with discipline and regularity. Here is the best way to keep your genitalia squeaky clean.
TLC for tender parts
- Nose knows: Let your nose guide you. All women have their own ‘smell down there’ that they are aware of. Stay sensitive to any sudden change of smells. If you suddenly get a foul fishy whiff, cast off your perfumed soaps and douche and make an appointment with the doctor instead.
- Water warrior: The best cleanser for your private parts is warm water. Rinsing is a simple, but effective cleansing process, if done with care and time. It’s best to follow up this rinsing with a mild, diluted watery solution of soap, and make sure that you rinse the soap off carefully. Scrubbing of course is a big no-no. Be gentle.
- High and dry: Drying up is as important as cleaning. Use a fresh, clean towel and pat the whole area dry. It’s a good idea to earmark a separate towel for cleaning down there, and washing it after each use.
- From the kitchen cabinet: Contrary to common wisdom, douches are not a good idea for the vaginal environment. So think of natural substitutes. You would have never guessed, but kitchen corn starch is a great cleanser for your private parts. Use an old, soft makeup brush to slather it on during your bath, and wash off gently. This is a good substitute for soaps.
- Hair care, down there: If you are a stickler for removing unwanted body hair, don’t make an exception for the pubic hedge. Use a small, blunt pair of scissors to gently, very carefully snip off the locks. A neat, well-trimmed hedge down there can keep sweat at bay, which in makes it inhospitable to bacteria.
- Underneath your clothes: The type of underwear you choose makes a huge difference to the ease and comfort of your genitals. Stick to cotton, as they let your skin breathe. Keep your underwear dry at all costs – if you have used the bidet, use toilet paper to wipe gently, so that the moisture isn’t passed on to your panties. But be careful about the direction in which you wipe: contamination of vaginal fluids with fecal particles may trigger off infection. Make sure you don’t mix the two up, ever. Lastly, remember, your underwear collects a good part of the gunk you produce, so clean those as well as your clean yourself.
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