It’s time for an update! The last time I heard about vaginal care was in a middle school classroom and consisted of awkwardly seeing a pad for the first time. If you’re like me, sex-ed left me confused, scared, and quite honestly kind-of grossed out. You would think that sex-ed would better prepare us for womanhood; However, watching my PE teacher unwrap a pad was a comical attempt at preparing me for the wonders of “my lovely, lady” parts.
Our bodies are beautiful and divine, and learning about its marvels is critical to embracing our best selves. Growing up I associated the intimate parts of my body with being inappropriate and thought speaking of them would be shameful. It’s time to break this stigma and proudly educate vagina owners of their bodies. I encourage those of you to embrace your powerful, sexy, beautiful vagina and give it the care and attention it deserves.
I am not a gynecologist, nor a doctor, but I myself am a proud owner of a vagina. After twenty years of experience, and quite a bit of research, I compiled a list of important tips, facts, and tricks for keeping up with down there care in your young adulthood. I broke down my list into three popular concerns regarding vaginal health.
Vaginal odor is normal! Our vaginas are literally ecosystems (yes, our own cute, little biome). This ecosystem is complete with healthy, and necessary bacteria. Natural odors are unavoidable and can smell sour, rusty, sweet, or fermented. There are some smells, such as fishy odors that might need to be looked into. Odor in general is unavoidable, but there are ways we can reduce the odor.
My first tip is to consider going commando while asleep. Similar to letting a cut heal at night without a band-aid, your vagina needs time to breathe. Underwear at night makes the perfect home for unwanted bacteria because they thrive in dark, warm, and moist places. Many doctors recommend sleeping bare- bottomed, if you are comfortable in doing so.
Another simple tip is to drink your water. Yes, I know, practically any health concern would benefit from water, but staying hydrated is crucial to a healthy vagina. Staying hydrated insures that your body regularly flushes out fluids, specially sweat and urine. As these fluids release, any toxins present drain too.
Shaving down-there should be an olympic sport considering how difficult this task can be. Everything matters from the products to the form. To clarify, shaving is not necessary, but rather a person preference. Being both a dancer and swimmer, I have experienced much trial and error. Everyone’s skin and hair is different, however there are a few key components to mastering the art.
First things first, it’s time to trash the old razor. Dull razors are the biggest culprits for cuts and bumps, especially around your vagina. Next, exfoliate baby! Try your best to exfoliate a couple days leading up to the shave to get rid of any dry skin and stubborn pores. Exfoliating in advanced also allows time for any irritated skin to calm down before shaving. After exfoliating it’s time for last minute, in-shower prep. Make sure to shave LAST. You want to soak in the hot water to open your pores for a smoother more seamless shave. I recommend waiting until after your other shower-ly obligations until you are on the verge of “prune” territory.
Let’s talk about another aspect of Miss. V, discharge. You might think of discharge as annoying, however it serves a necessary part of vaginal regulation. Simply put, discharge sheds old cells in order to keep the tissues healthy and to protect against invaders. Trust me, I know that discharge is flat out annoying, but it’s important to recognize the function it serves.
Vaginal discharge can range in color, consistency, and amount. Doctor’s recommend avoiding scented soaps or feminine products to prevent abnormal discharge. The best way to wash down-there is to use unscented, gentle soap and water. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from unnatural ingredients in products, such as those found in added scents.
Another tip is to wipe front-to-back. When using the bathroom you should always wipe the front (down-there) first to prevent any unwanted contamination. Bacteria from behind can irritate the vagina and lead to abnormal discharge.
Vaginal care is important for your health and well-being. These are only a few practical tips to start caring for down-there, but there are many resources available to personalize your routine for your own wants and needs. Consider talking to a gynecologist, your regular physician, of the JMU health center for more information.
4 thoughts on “Down-There Care”
I loved this blog. You took some topics that are sometimes scary to talk about and made them approachable. I think this could definitely be sent to young people with a vagina to make them feel informed on personal hygiene, something that should be taught in school!
This was an amazing read! The quote: “Shaving down-there should be an olympic sport considering how difficult this task can be.” ….. PREACH!! These are hard topics to talk about with a lot of emotions tied to it and you did a great job of sharing this information in a fun read & informative way!
I loved everything about this. I found it very empowering and it was funny! It is crazy how ,ugh woman worry about shaving, odor, and discharge when everything should be left alone !
Growing up with girls saying their Vijayjay smelled like peaches and cream or flowers I would think there was something wrong with mine so thank you for this article.