Get into a good feminine hygiene routine with these feminine hygiene tips and learn when to use feminine hygiene products, like vaginal washes, for vaginal health and hygiene.
Wondering how to get rid of the odour of vaginal discharge, prevent vaginal infections, and whether to use a feminine hygiene wash or douche?
In this article, you’ll learn about some feminine hygiene must-haves for period feminine hygiene, pregnancy feminine hygiene, and healthy feminine hygiene after intercourse.
These feminine hygiene tips will show you how to practice good feminine hygiene and when to use feminine hygiene products like vaginal washes, cleanses, douches, and personal care products in your feminine hygiene routine.
While feminine hygiene is a crucial part of our daily routine, it is a rarely discussed topic. Discussing feminine hygiene is still a taboo within our social circles.
Many women struggle with their basic feminine hygiene and experience problems like infection, vaginal discharge and unpleasant odour. Vaginal health is often neglected and considered a priority only for your gynaecologist.
Your vagina consists of a delicate ecosystem of vaginal flora (bacteria) which prevent the risk of infections. When your vaginal ecosystem is healthy, you’re less likely to experience itching, foul odour and unusual discharge.
All women follow different routines, based on what has been working for their vaginal ecosystem. Some feminine hygiene issues can be tackled by simple lifestyle changes, such as healthy diet, exercise, and stress management.
Here are some basic vaginal health tips to follow as part of a healthy feminine hygiene routine:
- Keep your genital area clean and dry
- Opt for loose cotton underwear
- Clean your vagina and vulva twice a day with water
- Add plenty of probiotics to your diet
- Drink plenty of water during the day to flush out the toxins
- Schedule regular gynaecological visits
We rarely discuss our vaginal health with our family, friends or partners. Something as simple as what personal care products to use for taking care of our vaginal health is often a dilemma.
32 Feminine Hygiene Tips For Vaginal Health & Hygiene
Many of us struggle with opening up to our gynaecologist due to the embarrassment of discussing intimate hygiene and instead turn to friends who have been through the same issues for useful advice and recommendations of feminine hygiene products.
If this is your experience, you may have felt the need to ask one or more of these feminine hygiene questions on maintaining vaginal health and good feminine hygiene. These 32 questions and answers offer essential feminine hygiene tips to help you establish a healthy feminine hygiene routine.
1. Is the vagina acidic? What is the vagina pH level? How can I maintain my vagina pH balance?
Yes, your vaginal pH is mildly acidic. Your vaginal pH changes based on which stage of your life you’re in. During your reproductive years, your vaginal pH ranges from 3.5 – 4.5.
However, for some women it can go above 4.5, primarily observed just before menses and during the menopausal phase. Here are some simple ways to maintain your vagina pH balance:
- Stay hydrated
- Consume probiotics
- Use a condom during intercourse
- Urinate and wash up after intercourse
- Avoid douching
- Use water to clean your genital region
- Consult your OB-GYN (gynaecologist) regularly
2. Are vaginas supposed to smell? Do vaginas smell bad?
All vaginas have a unique odour. This is a combination of the vaginal discharge, cells and other tissue sloughed off from the vagina.
The “smell” of the vagina is subjective. This means that while it is normal to have an odour, it can make some women feel uneasy in relation to it. However, having a vaginal odour is completely normal.
During different times of a woman’s menstrual cycle, she may experience a change in the vaginal odour. Various foods can also contribute to this.
3. What is vaginosis?
Vaginosis is generally a bacterial overgrowth of your vaginal bacteria, caused due to a disruption of your unique vaginal ecosystem. It can result in a greyish, yellow discharge. Patients often mention a “fishy odour” emanating from their vagina.
4. Does vaginal thrush smell? Are vaginal yeast infections contagious?
Vaginal thrush is a yeast infection. Women observe thick white “cottage-cheese” consistency of discharge. This discharge rarely has an odour.
Vaginal yeast infections occur as a consequence of lowered immunity status (diabetes, course of antibiotics, previous or current infection). They are rarely considered to be an STD.
5. Is vaginal discharge normal? Does vaginal discharge smell?
Vaginal discharge is completely normal. The consistency of the discharge changes throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. Vaginal discharge can have a mild odour, which is not overpowering. Most discharge is transparent and odourless.
6. Is vaginal discharge a sign of pregnancy?
No, it isn’t. While discharge can be observed during pregnancy, it is also present during a normal menstrual cycle.
7. Is vaginal discharge normal during pregnancy?
Yes, discharge is completely normal during pregnancy. The fluctuations and surges of hormones contribute to the discharge and changes in its consistency.
8. Does vaginal discharge change when pregnant?
Since there is a hormonal surge, as well as an increase in blood vessels lining the vagina, discharge increases. It can be thick and slightly sticky at the beginning. Vaginal discharge appears to become more prominent towards the end of the first trimester and continues to the end of pregnancy.
9. How does the vagina change during pregnancy and after birth?
The hormones and increase in blood vessels change the internal appearance of the vagina, as well as the external vulva and genitalia. After birth, a woman’s vagina can feel soft, and loose due to the process of delivery.
The increase in blood flow can give your vagina a bluish-purple hue. This can also cause the sensation of pelvic fullness during pregnancy. Vaginal discharge increases following birth, due to the sloughing off the uterine tissues.
In general, the whole perineal area will feel sore and weak for a few weeks as the vagina and uterus attempt to get back to normal.
10. Is vaginal itching normal? Does vaginal dryness cause itching?
Slight itching every now and then is completely normal. However, consistent itching, thick discharge, foul odour and inflammation are not normal and require medical attention. Vaginal dryness can cause itching sometimes, but it is not the only cause of it.
11. Is vaginal itching a sign of pregnancy?
Itching is not a sign of pregnancy. However, some women can experience itching during pregnancy due to the overgrowth of vaginal bacteria or fungal infection. These are common during pregnancy due to the rapid changes occurring within the vaginal ecosystem.
12. How does the vagina change during ovulation?
Vaginal consistency stays almost the same, however, your vaginal discharge can change around ovulation. The cervix becomes soft and the cervix opens slightly to favour ovulation.
13. My vagina is dry after my period. Is that normal?
Estrogen levels decline right after your period, and since it is often the hormone responsible for lubrication, it is normal to observe some vaginal dryness after your period.
14. Is vaginal dryness a sign of pregnancy?
A decrease in estrogen during the early phases of pregnancy can contribute to the dryness of the vagina.
15. My vagina is dry during pregnancy. Is that normal?
While there is a surge in vaginal discharge during pregnancy as well as blood flow to the vagina, it is possible for women to experience vaginal dryness during pregnancy. This can occur due to fluctuations in the hormones during pregnancy.
16. Can vaginal dryness cause bleeding?
Bleeding or spotting commonly occurs after intercourse in women who have dry vaginas.
17. Is a vagina burning sensation normal? Is it normal to experience vagina burning during my period or after my period?
Burning is not a normal sensation and is not normal to experience vaginal burning during any phase of the menstrual cycle.
If you do experience this, consider getting checked for vaginal yeast infections or even to rule out other underlying infections or any other underlying causes.
18. How can I manage my feminine hygiene during menstruation?
Menstruation is one of the most stressful times for women, especially when it concerns intimate hygiene. And, yet it is one of the times when maintaining your intimate hygiene is very important.
Here are some simple tips for managing your menstrual hygiene:
- Wash your intimate area twice a day with water
- Change period products regularly
- Consume plenty of water, eat more fruits & veggies
- Consume less sugar, oil, and junk food
- Wear breathable cotton underwear
- Consider a vaginal wash for your basic hygiene routine
- Consult with your gynaecologist if you experience anything abnormal
19. Is it normal if my vagina burns after sex? How can I maintain hygiene after intercourse?
Burning in or around the vagina during or after sex is not considered to be normal. It requires medical attention to rule out possible underlying causes.
Intimate hygiene and sexual health are deeply entwined. Many women often make the mistake of overlooking basic hygiene practices following intercourse, which can affect overall intimate hygiene.
Here are some intimate hygiene tips to follow if you’re sexually active:
- Drink plenty of water during the day
- Urinate after intercourse
- Wash the vulva and vagina with water after intercourse
- Include a vaginal wash in your feminine hygiene products list
- Consume plenty of probiotics (yoghurt) with your diet
- Wear loose cotton underwear
- Exercise regularly
Gently suggest that your partner stays clean too. If you observe a change in your vaginal discharge patterns such as foul odour, blood, or pain during intercourse, consult your gynaecologist.
20. Do vaginal ultrasounds hurt?
Not if sufficient lubrication is used during a vaginal ultrasound. A woman might experience some discomfort, but that shouldn’t be too painful.
21. Do vaginal cysts go away?
Small vaginal cysts usually regress and go away on their own. If they increase in size or change shape, surgical intervention may be necessary.
22. Can vaginal atrophy be reversed?
One of the underlying requirements for reversing vaginal atrophy is estrogen. However, consistent supplementation with estrogen is not suitable for all women, so atrophy cannot be reversed for all women.
23. Does vaginal rejuvenation work?
Vaginal rejuvenation does work, but the results can vary from woman to woman. Also, women will have to go for regular follow-ups after the procedure. It is also not uncommon for many women to repeat the procedure every few years.
24. Is vaginal estrogen safe?
Small doses of vaginal estrogen, for a short period of time, are safe. However, long term usage is not advised. Ideally using any hormonal treatment requires a medical prescription.
25. Do vagina brightening products work?
While these products may cause slight vaginal brightening, they don’t result in long-term changes. Additionally, some vaginal brightening creams may contain steroids which affect the genital area and increase your susceptibility to infections.
26. Do vagina whitening creams or vagina whitening treatments work?
Vaginal whitening creams and treatments work to an extent, but you will have to go for follow-up visits with time.
27. Do vagina tightening pills and vagina tightening products work?
Yes, vaginal tightening pills and products do work, although it depends on the procedure that you opted for. Often you may have to repeat the procedure after a while to maintain sustained results.
28. Does vagina tightening exercise work?
The primary vaginal tightening exercise to tighten the vaginal muscles is the Kegel exercise. In this exercise, you need to contract your pelvic floor muscles for at least 10 seconds, as if holding a stream of urine, before letting go.
This should be repeated a few times a day and is a great, natural way to maintain vaginal tightness.
29. Does vagina tightening surgery work?
Any surgical procedure can have subjective results, that means the success of your vaginal tightening surgery depends on how you perceive it.
For the most part, vaginal tightening surgeries are procedures that have been tried and perfected over time, which means that their results will also be quite standardised. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, you may have to repeat it to get the required results.
30. Should I take any vagina health pills or vagina herbs?
There is no necessity for taking any pills or herbs unless recommended by your gynaecologist. Drinking plenty of water, consuming probiotics, and following a healthy diet with all-natural and healthy ingredients are sufficient for vaginal health.
31. Should I do a vagina steam detox?
Our vaginas are self-cleaning. There is no requirement for any external detoxification.
32. What vagina cleaning products should I use?
Ideally, no products are necessary for cleaning your vagina. On its own, the internal surfaces of your vagina are self-cleaning, which is why douching and internal cleansing of the vagina is not advised.
Soaps and other cleaning products can affect the fine-tuned pH balance within your vagina. Using mild unscented soap and water is sufficient to maintain the cleanliness of your genital region.
While plain water is sufficient to cleanse your vagina daily, small amounts of vaginal washes can also help with your basic hygiene routine, especially during menstruation. Today, there are a number of feminine hygiene washes that help in maintaining vaginal hygiene.
These vaginal washes are special formulations that help to maintain this delicate ecosystem within your vagina when used along with other basic intimate hygiene products.
These feminine hygiene products help to maintain a healthy pH (ranging between 3.5 – 4.5) required for vaginal health. A healthy pH balance helps to prevent infections, itching and foul odour.
Here are a few benefits of using a vaginal wash:
- Helps to maintain the natural pH balance
- Assists with vaginal odour
- Assists with vaginal dryness
- Works well for sensitive skin
- Can be used during periods and pregnancy
Today vaginal washes are common in most of our feminine hygiene routines. Since they help maintain the delicate vaginal pH balance, they are a must-have feminine hygiene product for many women.
Few of us are comfortable asking our doctor about intimate hygiene. From menstrual hygiene and contraception to vaginal washes, each of us has our own feminine hygiene products list that we’re comfortable using.
Which are your favourite feminine hygiene products? Do you like feminine hygiene washes? Do you feel cleaner after using them? Have you received any feminine hygiene tips from women friends on maintaining your intimate hygiene?
What would be the top feminine hygiene hacks you would share with the women in your circle? Do post them in the comments below.
About the author:
Dr Michelle Frank is a Doctor of Medicine by degree and certified by the Educational Commission For Foreign Medical Graduates. She is currently the Director of Women’s Health for the all-women platform, SHEROES.
She coordinates women’s health on three platforms, SHEROES Health, Babygogo and Maya. Most of her work is centred around menstrual health, reproductive health, sexual health and general wellbeing for women.
When she is not answering medical queries, she is adding content to the growing world of Women’s Health on the internet. In her spare time, she enjoys classic rock music, sketching and reading anything she can get her hands on.