Five Myths About Feminine Hygiene
There are many assumptions and misconceptions about personal health, and women are often on the receiving end of their hygienic nature. Society has made its rules on the dos and don’ts for women, but to what extent can these practices benefit or harm you? Feminine hygiene myths are prevalent since multiple businesses promote their products, raising eyebrows about how women should groom themselves.
So, what are the common myths about feminine hygiene, and what are the correct practices to counter these assumptions?
Myth 1: Cleaning Your Vaginal Area Requires Soap
Cleaning the vaginal area is critical, as many people are uneducated about this issue. First, we have to point out that there is a difference between the vulva and the vagina.
The vagina is the internal part of the female genitalia. It is characterized as being soft, muscular, and hidden. This part has self-cleansing properties, and there’s no need for you to clean it. The vaginal flora comprises bacterial colonies that keep your vagina clean. Washing the area, especially using synthetic-inclusive products, could be harmful as this will disrupt the “good” and “bad” bacterial balance, also known as the microbiome.
On the other hand, the vulva is the outer region of the female genitalia. It comprises the vaginal opening, the clitoris, and the inner and outer lips. You can consider cleaning this region as long as specialists permit it. However, there are rules to observe during the cleaning procedures. You should not use unique cleaning products, so avoid soaps, as this might interrupt the skin’s natural pH.
Furthermore, it would be best to avoid over-cleaning this intimate region to avoid interfering with the microbiome, as this might cause infection or irritation symptoms. Lukewarm water is advised to cleanse your vulva since it is a kinder alternative. Moreover, it is recommended only to wash the area once daily as it is a temperate region.
Douching is also a common term that has caused concern to many. This is the procedure of expelling liquid substances, mostly vinegar-water or soap-water mixtures, into the vagina to clear off any unusual odor. It is a hazardous procedure and shouldn’t be part of your grooming routine as the process can push bacteria further into your reproductive system, potentially causing inflammation. It is not helpful and also increases your risk of developing cervical cancer.
Myth 2: STIs are a Reflection of Your Personal Hygiene
Sexually transmitted infections are diseases passed on from partner to partner during unprotected sexual intercourse. The union of the reproductive organs and the exchange of reproductive fluids primarily lead to STIs. This directly clarifies that there is no relationship between a woman’s personal hygiene and the contraction of STIs.
Unfortunately, there are stories of both men and women resolving to enter a deep cleansing phase immediately after they engage in unprotected sex to reduce their chances of contracting STIs. This is a dangerous step, as the practice will not assist the doer in any way and might cause more harm than good.
The cleansing ritual might trigger potential bacterial infections or inflammation regardless of your choice of products. This is because the chemicals used to manufacture these products are ideally harmful and can put you at greater risk.
Every sexually active individual is at risk of contracting STIs. The best way to prevent STIs is by using barrier contraceptives like condoms or by abstaining from sexual intercourse altogether. If you and your partner still prefer practicing unprotected sex, then you should consider going for regular checkups to ensure you’re both clean and avoid having other sexual partners.
Myth 3: Vaginal discharge is a cause for concern
Vaginal discharge is an ordinary thing. This is a necessary procedure and action to moisturize and clean your vagina and fight and prevent infections. Vaginal secretion production by the cervix eliminates dead cells and bacteria to maintain a healthy vaginal flora balance (vaginal microbiome).
However, the visual appearance of vaginal discharge might vary during your menstrual cycle, which is where many people get confused. For instance, you’re likely to notice a thick and sticky discharge at the beginning of your cycle. The secretions will change to be mucous-like and stretchy towards ovulation, which resembles a raw egg white. A healthy discharge has no color or a strong odor; ideally, it shouldn’t cause pain or discomfort.
Nonetheless, if you have any vaginal discharge accompanied by soreness and itchiness around the vaginal area, that could be an infection. An abnormal discharge might result from a yeast infection, trichomoniasis, or bacterial vaginosis. If such symptoms persist, you should pay your gynecologist a visit for further examination and tests.
Myth 4: It’s More Hygienic to Remove Pubic Hair
Whether you prefer waxing, shaving, laser hair removal, or epilating, hair removal is a personal preference. It all depends on what makes a woman confident and comfortable. That said, it’s important to get the facts straight and avoid taboos and trends. Many women ideally remove their pubic hair as a hygienic routine.
There are minimal risks associated with retaining your pubic hair, which is a plus. They were, however, ideal for preventing infection and friction on the female genitalia. Removing this hair through waxing or shaving can potentially cause ingrown hair, hyperpigmentation, or infected hair follicles.
If you prefer getting rid of your pubic hair as your personal hygienic choice, consider using soothing shaving creams, regularly replacing shaving blades, and keeping the area irritation-free. This will prevent any problems from arising as a result of the procedures.
Myth 5: There are no rules regarding underwear and feminine sprays
People can take extreme measures to protect their image and ensure that they tick all the boxes. This is why feminine sprays sell a lot on the market. These are manufactured sprays that claim to eliminate any unusual odor in your bikini region. Although it’s advised not to spray directly into your vagina, these products can significantly affect your vagina, including irritation, as the vulva is a sensitive region.
Every vagina has an odor. It’s very natural, and every woman has a unique one. A musky or fleshy scent usually characterizes it. However, hormonal changes resulting from pregnancy, menstrual cycle, or menopause can slightly change the odor, but that’s not a point to be concerned about. Only a strong or unusual smell should cause worry, but the sprays aren’t a solution. The bottom line is that you should avoid these products as they do not help and can have drastic consequences.
Your choice of underwear should be something you put some thought into. Those made of 100% cotton should be your top recommendation as they are natural fabrics and are gentler on the skin. They also readily absorb moisture and are breathable. Underwear made of nylon, silk, or polyester, among other synthetic materials, can trap moisture as they aren’t very breathable. These factors can lead to redness and chafing and potentially cause a yeast infection.
Feminine hygiene is a topic filled with myths, as many people are uninformed about keeping their bikini region clean. It’s essential to ignore the myths and dwell more on the facts to ensure you always get things right.