Maintaining Vaginal Health
A lot of men and women both live with this idea that the vagina is supposed to smell like all of these amazing things. Roses, water, fruit, and all the magical wonders of the world when really a vagina should smell like well… a vagina. As much as you may not want it to ladies, your vagina has its own natural smell. Some women like to use products to enhance, decrease, or mask but if you really don’t like the smell of down below 1) make sure everything is okay; is your pH balanced? Any infections going on? Go to the doctors, get regularly checked and tested.
Signs and symptoms of an unbalanced vaginal pH:
A high pH level that leads to BV or another infection may cause symptoms like these:
- a foul or fishy smell
- unusual white, gray, or green discharge
- vaginal itching
- burning when you urinate
There’s a huge difference between a something is wrong smell and your natural scent. Not everyone is going to be in love with how they smell but I cringe when I see females using sprays and products that are supposed to balance your pH, make you smell “good”, and just things that shouldn’t be going anywhere near your lady parts. Trust me, I’ve taken a trip down the feminine hygiene aisle and “clinically proven to help maintain a healthy pH balance”, caught my attention. Don’t fall for the trap that your goodies are supposed to be 100% scent-free. Years ago I used vagisil to so call balance my pH, and just swore up and down I was taking care of my girl, I’m like yes! This is great, can’t tell me nothing. WRONG! Just stay away from the products, especially anything with a fragrance. You really shouldn’t be using perfumes or sprays near your vagina unless you enjoy having yeast infections. Summers Eve? Trash it. I see a lot of women boasting about the many products they use to keep their girl smelling good. If you have to use “many products” something is wrong.
My girl is super sensitive so me and many products wouldn’t work out if I tried it. The only soap or body wash I trust and haven’t any issues with are Dove and Aveeno. If you use scented soap or body wash from places like Bath & Body works or Victoria Secrets, skip your goodies. All you need is a good product to wash the outside region of your vagina, you are never supposed to be putting soap in the inside of your kitty kat, ever. Also note that the vagina and vulva are different. Vulva is the term for all of the parts that you can see – aka your external genitals. A lot of people, both men and women, get confused about what is actually there and how they work. We all know that one person who didn’t know that there were 3 holes (the vaginal entrance, the urethra, and the anus). The vagina is where the lining of the uterus is shed during menstruation, where penetration can occur during sex and where a baby descends during childbirth.
Many women don’t know much about their body and end up learning through trial and error. Scented pads, tampons, wipes, and panti-liners are a no go. Trash them. Don’t douche! Your vagina cleans itself. The things you eat, the people you have sex with, all contribute to the balance of your vaginas pH level. There was a guy I used to date and every time we had sex I’m like “omg, I keep getting a yeast infection” it never failed. I didn’t know if it was the condoms we were using or what but safe to say we stopped having sex, I didn’t need that negativity in my life. Your body be looking out and letting you know when people are no good for you.
How do you know if your pH balance is off? You are your vaginas best friend and if you are in touch with your body then you know when something is off. You don’t have to buy anything geared towards pH health or anything of that nature. Sometimes you don’t know because you may not have any symptoms and might feel a bit off but contribute your feelings to something else. Go to your OBGYN and find out what the problem is, don’t experiment with different things or think you know what the problem is because you can be wrong. Any itching, foul odors, pain, or anything that just smells or feels off, don’t ignore it.
How do I stay on my vaginas good side? Don’t let people convince you that your vagina or what comes out of your vagina is supposed to smell like magic (i.e discharge, menstrual). Discharge is normal, don’t believe women who post their sparkling clean panties and say stuff like “bet y’all can’t relate” she’s the one who needs to be heading to doctor because that’s what it’s supposed to do. Not saying your panties are supposed to be dirty or have something on them but being realistic it happens sometimes due to discharge so don’t feel ashamed if it happens to you. You can’t and shouldn’t feel ashamed about your body doing its job. Hormones can change the way your body reacts which can increase or decrease scents and secretions. Every women is different, some discharge more, some less. Most women wear panti-liners often because of this.
Vaginal discharge serves an important housekeeping function in the female reproductive system. Fluid made by glands inside the vagina and cervix carries away dead cells and bacteria. This keeps the vagina clean and helps prevent infection. Most of the time, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal.
Try to get as close to natural and/or organic as you can with the products you use. Everything doesn’t work for everyone but as far as Summer’s Eve, Vagisil, RepHresh, etc. don’t willingly place chemicals into your vagina. Also look into using chemical free pads and panti-liners. I started using L Brand products and I feel comfortable enough to recommend. Believe it or not they have helped with my cramps. I used to get bad cramps, that changed a bit after I gave birth and decreased but these pads have helped decrease them more. The liners don’t have the best adhesive but you get a lot for the price, I purchased mine from Target. Seventh Generation also has chemical free feminine products that I also recommend.
Eat healthy, drink lots of water! Your vagina will thank you. If you are having unprotected sex be aware that semen can throw off your balance and encourage growth of certain bacteria. If not, make sure you are using condoms that agree with your vagina when engaging in intercourse. I learned that I can’t use any with latex because it hurts and makes sex unejoyable, but they do have non-latex ones that feel way better! The kind of underwear you wear also matters! Some dyes/colors and fabrics will make you more prone to yeast and bacteria infections. Cotton is usually recommended. There are also vitamins and probiotics that are recommended which I don’t know much about but I’ll share as soon as I do. Greek yogurt is said to help with pH balance because it contains probiotics. Fresh cranberries or cranberry juice also is good to support vaginal health as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.
How can I keep my vulva and vagina clean?
- When showering or bathing, wash your vulva with warm water and mild or unscented soap.
- Separate your labia and let the warm soapy water clean all around the clitoral hood and between your labia. This will rinse off any secretions that get stuck in between skin folds.
- Rinse completely and pat dry your vulva with a soft dry towel.
- In between baths or showers, you may wish to use a facecloth or a “peri-care” bottle to clean your vulva. This plastic bottle holds water and is also good to use during your period. You can usually find them at your local pharmacy for about a dollar or less.
- While on your period, change your tampon/pad often.
The vagina cleanses itself naturally. The cells in the vagina keep it at a normal pH so you should NEVER douche or use any sprays in your vagina (unless your health care provider prescribes it).
- Use mild soap and warm water to clean around the opening to your vagina.
Vaginal and Vulvar Hygiene Tips:
- Wash all new underwear before you wear it and then use a small amount of mild unscented detergent for routine washing. Rinse laundry well to remove all of the detergent.
- Wear underwear with a cotton crotch. Avoid wearing thong style underwear as they can irritate your vulva.
- NEVER douche or use feminine deodorant sprays, bubble bath, wipes, bath oils or other perfumed products on your vulva or in your vagina as they can cause irritation, allergic reactions, or remove the natural fluid that keeps your vagina clean. These products are NOT necessary and may be harmful.
Your p*ssy is GOLD so make sure you are treating her as such. Protect yourself; Be mindful of who and what you let come near because the wrong things will throw your levels and even your mental off. Self-care first!
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Aside from the latest blog post that are waiting to be read, I have published my third book! If you’ve kept up with the blog then you’ve probably read the snippets. The Key To My Brother’s Heart – Kennedy’s Reign is now available in electronic and paperback editions. It’s available electronically on Barnes & Noble and Amazon Kindle as well as paperback on Amazon. All 3 of my books and $elf products and apparel are available on my website. For easier access, simply click “Shop” on the blog’s homepage.
Be on the look out for The Key To My Brother’s Heart 2 and my newest book The Girl Next Door – the stories that bind us.
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