Genital Area Hygiene - Vulvar and Vaginal Hygiene

Genital Area Hygiene - Vulvar and Vaginal Hygiene – Hygienic considerations for sexual intercourse

 Vaginal and genital area is a sensitive and important area; certainly, good hygiene gives more confidence, a strong sense of femininity and satisfying sexuality. In order for the woman to be able to examine the vulva she must crouch and use a mirror.

However, disturbances are often a source of concern such as:

-A strange feeling of an abnormal form of her vulva.

-An embarrassment during sex can cause denial of sexual intercourse.

-A feeling of unpleasant smell.

-Abnormally large or small labia (that maybe corrected surgical).

Best hair removal method (laser, waxing or shaving)?

-Each woman must be sure that she has a normal area just like any other woman but with minor differences that makes her unique and special.

-It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor if you feel some itching, irritation or rash at vulvar area.

-Vaginal discharge is very common and most often it is physiological and caused by hormonal changes.

-The skin of the genital area is very sensitive and therefore requires a good daily hygiene to achieve maximum comfort and enjoyment during sex.

-The use of vegetable oils to moisturize and soothe the vulva would be very beneficial providing more comfort and flexibility especially after menopause.

Pubic Hair Removal:

Naturally the pubic area contains hair, and there are different ways for taking care and removal of this hair which depends on the type of skin and what each woman prefer, she can remove all the hair from the whole area or she can remove it from certain parts only (upper area and the edges), or just trimming.

Whatever the method chosen it is better to try it on a small area first to avoid allergic skin reaction or burn from hot wax or lacerations caused by shaving, in cases of active inflammation, herpes or blisters, shaving and waxing should be avoided, and it is recommended to trim the hair to prevent the spread of inflammation.

If you prefer permanent hair removal; laser can be done. With this method there will be no irritation, or hair growing under the skin, but be careful in choosing the right place for that (specialized clinic or center).

Laundry products:

-Cleansers and products that do not contain dyes or enzymes and perfumes should be only used in cleaning underwear’s, sportswear, towels and sleepwear.

-Use half or third the suggested amount of laundry products to minimize its concentration.

-Avoid the use of soothing clothes.

-If you use products to remove stains, rinse underwear in warm water before washing again.

Choice of Underwear:

-Choose a good quality cotton fabric that absorbs moisture and dries quickly.

-If your skin is sensitive or you have rash use appropriate clothing and pants.

-It is better to avoid wearing underwear and pants during the night, it is more appropriate to use pajamas or even sleep naked.

-Underwear’s and cloths should be changed immediately when they get wet after exercise or swimming.

Wet and dry vulval area:

-Some women are suffering from chronic vulval dryness, a common mistake is to use powders such as talc, which is toxic and irritating, and therefore causing contact dermatitis, and since it is carcinogenic it has a correlation with ovarian cancer.

-For women complaining of persistent wet vulva, the best prevention is by wearing cotton underwear that dry quickly and also using natural moisturizers and oils.

-It is preferred to keep extra pair of underwear in a small bag or purse for regular change if the underwear, became wet at the work place or at school.

-After exercise or making extra effort, immediate change of wet underwear is recommended.

-It is advisable not to wear daily use pads.

-Tampons are safe to use but their frequent use or when the amount of bleeding is not much, tampons become harmful, causing irritation of the vulva, increase in vaginal secretions and thereby releasing an unpleasant odor.

Hygiene and shower:

-Avoid using products that can cause irritation of the skin of the genital area such as liquid soap and scented lotions, though they have pleasant smell they can cause skin irritation.

-Avoid douching which causes irritation by interfering with the bacteria naturally present at vulvar area and contribute in its protection. Among many other common mistakes include, the use of vinegar, milk and many other products in the douche.

-If you have sensitive skin avoid direct contact with soap on the skin surrounding the vulva and avoid rubbing the area, cleaning the area with warm water and gentle rubbing with hand is enough to keep the area clean without causing irritation.

-Try to change the type of soap used because you might be allergic to a particular type of soap, usually organic soap and natural products are preferred.

-Avoid bath bubbles, bath salt and bath with scented oils if you have sensitive skin.

-If you have irritation, wipe the area gently by pressing and avoid rubbing with the towel.

Vulvar Itching:

-If you suddenly started to complain from itching and it was associated with whitish vaginal discharge, then it is most likely due to fungal infection, local treatment with anti fungal cream and ovules would be sufficient.

-If no improvement with local anti fungal or if it was associated with skin rash; the cause might be atypical fungus that needs specific treatment.

Eczema and lichen scleroses are possible causes for that too.

-Warm sitz bath can help to reduce the itching, 4-5 table spoon of baking soda can be added to the bath, 1-3 times daily for 10-15 minutes each time.

-The use of wet bandages can relieve irritation. 

Cleaning the Genital Area:

-After going to toilet, use smooth, white and unscented toilet paper.

-Avoid wet napkins.

-Wash the area with warm water after urination.

-After defecation, it is important to wipe the genital area from front to back not the opposite.

-If you are using daily pads, it is recommended to change every 6-8 hours.

-Frequent use of tampons can increase your chance of having vaginal and vulvae infection.

Moisturizers for the vulvar skin:

-The best moisturizer is natural oils (sesame oil sunflower oil, canola oil or jojoba oil).

-Natural vegetable oils are clean, cheap and free of chemicals.

-Use only small amounts of these oils to avoid staining your underwear.

-These oils are the best lubricant before intercourse.

Considerations for Sex:

It should be free of pain, and here are some instructions to avoid vulvar irritation, injury or having burning sensation:

-Use natural oils as lubricant.

-The use of vegetable oils during foreplay for more excitement and enjoyment and help lubricate the genital organs of both partners before initiating vaginal intercourse and it reduces friction and pain in the vagina, urethra and clitoris.

-Avoid using latex condoms with natural oils, because it can be melted, but it is safe with the Avanti type.

-If you are menopause; using sunflower oil is a must because it can give you a prolonged miniaturization and prevent cracks and laceration at the vagina.

-Avoid synthetic lubricants containing water such as (K-y jelly), because it dries during intercourse and result in more dryness, it also contains chemicals and preservatives that can cause irritation.

-Latex condoms can cause vulvar skin irritation and allergy; changing to a different type of condoms specific for sensitive skin; though the price is a little higher but you will be free from discomfort and irritation.

-Avoid sex when there is vaginal infection.

-The use of male condoms to prevent the spread infection.

Painful Sex:

-It is strongly recommended to consult the doctor if you have pain during intercourse, including vulval vestibule, this may be due to vulvodynia a very common defect that can cause pain.

-After the age of menopause and for better treatment, consult your doctor if you feel pain during intercourse.

-It is advisable to urinate just after intercourse to prevent bladder inflammation.

Last Update: 2011-09-01