How to take care down there- Just for females!

Written By Dr Surbhi, MD Skin

Last updated: 03/10/18

Females commonly shy away from talking about “down there” and even delay their visits to the doctor until it is too late. It is important that we start talking more openly about issues like this, not only about our personal hygiene but also in becoming more aware of the ways we can keep ourselves clean and healthy. Through this article, we at Dermatocare help you understand what is the anatomy of your intimate parts, how to take care of them and when you should see your doctor.


 

Understanding the genital anatomy

Female genitals consist externally of the vulva that leads internally to the vagina. Vulva consists of two folds of skin called as labia majora and labia minora. The labia minora, the inner fold guards the openings of the urethra (from where you pass urine) and the vagina. The vagina is a soft muscular tunnel that connects with the womb and hence functions as a passage for the baby during delivery.

 

How do I clean “down there”?

Unlike commonly thought of, the genitals do not need extra care; just thorough cleaning of vulva by pulling the folds of skin apart while bathing is sufficient.  You should rather avoid excessive scrubbing, overzealous cleaning, antiseptics, perfumed products, douching, wipes or anything beyond lukewarm water to clean the delicate skin of your vulva.

Similarly, the internal part called as vagina does not need any cleaning because it is home to good bacteria called as the lactic acid bacillus that stops the growth of bad bacteria. In fact cleaning with alkaline soap or douching can disturb the flora of the vagina and make you prone to vaginal problems. You can use the vaginal washes rich in lactic acid bacilli to restore the pH of the vagina if prescribed by your physician. 

How do I choose my underclothes?

You can either choose between looking flashy or being healthy. Loose-fitting cotton underwear of light colours is the best buy as they allow air circulation and reduce chances of bacterial and fungal infections in the folds. Change your underwear daily, maybe twice if they get wet of discharge or urine. Make sure that all the detergent is rinsed away properly before drying them.

Should I wash each time I pass urine?

Sprinkling little water on your vulvae followed by pat drying with toilet paper is a good practice to avoid vaginal or urinary infections. Make sure you dry your intimate parts from front to back to avoid contamination of vulva with germs from your anus.

Do I need to take special care during my periods?

Yes! The menstrual blood if left unattended can increase your chances of vaginal infections. So, make sure you clean all the blood using running water each time you use the toilet followed by pat drying the area. Change your pads regularly depending on your flow; the good practice is to change the pad if your pad is no more absorbing the blood. Avoid using tampons because the life-threatening infection has been reported if tampons are left inside the vagina for too long.

Is it important to remove hair in my pubic area?

Pubic hair is meant to protect the vagina, but they do need regular trimming. However, they can be removed if needed by shaving, waxing, or LASERS. Please avoid using depilatory creams as they can burn the delicate skin of your vulva.

Is it normal to have some amount of vaginal discharge?

The vaginal discharge keeps your vagina clean and helps in lubrication during intercourse. So, a small amount of vaginal discharge is normal and, in fact, you should consult a gynaecologist if you feel dryness down there.

When should I visit the doctor?

Here is a comprehensive list of common alarming signs that warrants an expert opinion:

  • If your vaginal discharge is increased or decreased in amount, is changing colour or consistency especially if associated with foul smell, itching and soreness you might be having vaginal infections.
  • Little itching now and then in private parts is normal but excessive itching that makes you uncomfortable can be due to dermatological diseases.
  • Any kinds of raw area, fluid filled lesions, growth, bumps needs immediate attention.
  • You might feel a little discomfort at the site of tear or stitches while having sex on the vulva especially after delivery but any pain during intercourse is abnormal, report to your doctor.
  • Change in the flow, regularity or timing of the cycles can be due to hormonal or gynaecological problems.

 


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