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April 14, 2020
Photo by Dainis Graveris.
We should always practice good hygiene when it comes to using period products, but with a real heightened awareness lately around just how easily germs can spread, it's the perfect time to check-in on our more intimate hygiene habits, too.
Here are our top 10 intimate hygiene tips to help keep your vagina healthy, happy and infection free.
Just think of all the germs that live on your hands... you don't want them going up your vag! Wash hands with soap and water BEFORE you touch your privates, and again after. If you're in a public bathroom or stall, use a piece of tissue to lock and unlock the door and then dispose of it on the way out.
Cotton is a lightweight, breathable fabric that helps your vagina to breathe and is our daily go-to, period or not. Keep things fresh and airy with cotton undies (like these cute and super comfy Moxie ones) or if you're at home/in bed, don't wear any undies at all.
BONUS TIP: Be sure to replace your underwear every year, or more frequently if you wear them for exercise. Even if washed thoroughly, E.coli bacteria can live in the fibres, as can dead skin cells from the groin area, which may lead to infection, UTIs and irritation of the vulva or vagina.
They say that the safest sex is no sex at all, but there are ways we can minimise the risk of contracting or spreading STIs. If you're having sex with someone else, be sure to use a condom or some kind of protective barrier (like a dental dam, for oral sex) to help prevent the spread of STIs.
If you're going it solo, make sure your hands or toys are clean before gettin' busy. If you're using someone else's toys (or hands, or any other body parts that might touch your intimate areas), be sure to sterilise or sanitise them before use as well, and use a condom or other protective barrier wherever possible.
Oh, and always pee after sex! This helps to flush out any bacteria that may have made its way into the vagina during intimate play (note: our vaginas are not sterile environments, but they are a sensitive place and so we need to be careful not to disrupt the pH).
There are lots of ways to experience intimate pleasure that isn't necessarily penetrative (check out some top tips from our The Moxie Periodic Table resident Sexologist, Chantelle Otten, HERE), but if you're going the whole hog, use protection where you can. But overall, as long as it's legal, consensual, protected and fun for all, we say GO FOR IT.
Even if you boil/sterilise/sanitise it first, which you should be doing before each cycle anyway, keep it to yo'self.
Your vagina is super clever in that it's mostly self-cleaning - we don't want to disrupt the pH in there, which is what keeps everything nice and healthy; so avoid using soaps, oils, fragrances or anything else that could disrupt the pH and cause irritation or infection.
You can clean the outside (the vulva) with an intimate-care specific wash (make sure it's fragrance free), or with a disposable/flushable intimate wipe, like our Moxie Organics biodegradable cotton wipes. Otherwise, warm water is just fine.
Super tight jeans and even stockings can reduce air-flow, as can sweaty gym clothes, creating a lovely li'l breeding ground for bacteria. Shower as soon as you can after a workout and be mindful of changing up your outfits in order to give your best bud a breather every now and again.
Yep you read right: when you go to the toilet, be sure to wipe from vagina towards anus and not the other way around. This helps to avoid any harmful nasties from your bum ending up in your vagina, which is sensitive and precious and pretty much best left alone to do its thang :)
Prolonged dampness around the vagina may lead to infection, odour and discomfort. Change out of wet clothes as soon as you can (please note: discharge doesn't count - experiencing daily discharge is pretty normal).
Please, for the love of all the vagina Gods, do not spray perfumes, use fragranced products or use talcum powder on your vagina. All vaginas have unique smells and this is normal, presuming that it doesn't smell 'off', or fishy - which is a sure sign that something is wrong and it's time to get checked by your Doctor. Everyone's odour will be different and can even be influenced by the foods we eat - just keep an eye (nose?!) on it and if it's not smelling right to you, get checked by your GP.
If you're experiencing any vaginal itching, burning, discomfort or pain, swelling, changes in urine, or if you notice an unusual odour, please do seek professional advice from a trusted health professional who will able to provide you with a personalised diagnosis and treatment plan.
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