Intimate hygiene is a delicate topic, and many are simply embarrassed to ask a doctor about the features of genital care. Well, others (especially men) do not see this as a problem at all: in their opinion, it is enough to wash and change underwear daily.
In fact, everything is not so simple: improper care can cause many unpleasant diseases and disorders in the intimate sphere.
Woman’s intimate hygiene
The anatomy of the female genital organs is such that the vagina is located next to the anus, and this increases the risk of pathogens entering the internal genital organs. This is the first point to consider when intimate hygiene.
The second point is due to the fact that the vagina has an acidic environment that is most favorable for lactobacilli – beneficial microorganisms that make up the main normal microflora of this organ. Lactobacilli produce lactic acid, which kills most pathogens. If, for one reason or another, the vaginal environment becomes alkaline, the number of lactobacilli is much reduced, and other microorganisms populate the vacant space, causing a violation such as vaginal dysbiosis and other unpleasant consequences.
And the third point is that once a month, during the period of menstruation, the internal genital organs of a woman become especially vulnerable to infection.
Here are some simple rules for conducting intimate hygiene of a woman.
1. It is necessary to wash at least 2 times a day – in the morning and in the evening with warm water. Before doing this, wash your hands with soap.
2. Do not use a washcloth or sponge – they can easily damage the mucous membrane.
3. Wash only with your hand, while the direction of the hand and water stream should be from front to back so that bacteria from the anus do not enter the vagina.
4. For the same reasons, it is not recommended to wash yourself while sitting in the bathroom or, for example, in the basin.
Some women send a strong stream of water into the vagina, believing that this will help get rid of all the pollution. But, in this way, they get rid of beneficial lactobacilli and upset the acid-base balance in the vagina, and provoke dry mucous membranes. The result of such hygiene is bacterial vaginosis, and sometimes an inflammatory process in the vagina. The same applies to douching. You should not douche just like that or, as many do, after sexual contact: in this case, it is enough to just wash the genitals with water. Douching is a medical procedure and should only be done if prescribed by a doctor.
Douching during menstruation is especially dangerous. During this period, the female genitals are especially vulnerable, therefore, in order to avoid troubles, one should not have sex, swim in natural reservoirs, in the pool, take a bath. Best of all will be limited to a shower.
A typical mistake of many women is the use of ordinary toilet soap for hygiene of the genitals. The fact is that soap has an alkaline reaction, and when alkaline foam enters the vagina, the acidic medium is neutralized. In addition, the soap dries the vaginal mucosa. For intimate hygiene, there are special gels with the same acidity as the vaginal environment. They also contain moisturizing ingredients. Once a day should be washed with a gel, the second time – just water. But the area near the anus is washed with ordinary soap – the gel for intimate hygiene will not provide the necessary disinfection of this area.
For the intimate area, a clean, soft towel designed only for these purposes is used. You need to wipe yourself very carefully, do not rub delicate places, but gently get them wet.
What to prefer on critical days: pads or tampons? Tampons are more reliable, help eliminate an unpleasant odor, and many choose them. But doctors still recommend pads for regular use, and they recommend using tampons only on special occasions. It is necessary to change pads and tampons every 2–4 hours, otherwise there is a risk of developing an inflammatory process, since a dirty pad (and tampon) is a wonderful environment for the propagation of pathogenic microorganisms. As for daily panty liners, which are very popular among women, doctors do not recommend using them constantly, as they are airtight and also serve as a source of bacterial reproduction. If you still use them, then you need to change them, too, after 3-4 hours.
Here are the basic rules for intimate hygiene of women. Especially carefully they must be observed by teenage girls and women who have reached menopause, since during these periods the resistance of the vaginal microflora is reduced.
Intimate hygiene of men
Many men relate to issues of intimate hygiene quite frivolously, and in vain. The result of this are various diseases of the genital area. To prevent this from happening, representatives of the stronger sex need to know and follow the basic rules of genital hygiene.