Made up of numerous protective bacteria, the vaginal flora is a fragile ecosystem that can easily become unbalanced, at which point irritation, burning sensations or itching can occur. And yet, adopting the right daily habits is usually enough to avoid these unpleasant problems and keep your intimate area healthy. Read on to find out which habits to adopt… and which to stop!
Washing your intimate area
- • Wash your intimate area daily, but not excessively: washing once a day is enough, but you may wish to wash again if you’ve exercised, if the weather is very hot, or if you have had sexual intercourse. Washing several times a day is not only unnecessary, sometimes it is even harmful: when used excessively, hard water and cleansing products alter the moist film that protects the mucous membranes and this can trigger irritations.
- • Use a gentle cleansing product with a physiological pH (around 5), designed specifically for the daily cleansing of the intimate area. Don’t ever use standard soap or shower gel to wash your intimate area: as they are too harsh and not suited to the pH of your intimate area, these products can upset its balance.
- • Be careful which intimate hygiene product you choose: some are formulated for daily use, while others are for treating irritations.The latter are antiseptic or have a higher pH and they should not be used unless you have a specific problem.
- • Steer well clear of vaginal douches, whether with a cleansing product or just water: this practice alters the vaginal flora and increases the risk of infections. Cleansing should be superficial and include only the pubic area, the vulva and the perianal area.
- • Never use a face cloth when washing your intimate area, as these are a breeding ground for bacteria. Simply wet your clean and bare hands, then pour a small quantity of cleansing gel into your cupped hand before washing yourself.
- • After washing, rinse yourself carefully and dry the folds of your intimate area thoroughly to avoid any maceration. You can use a clean towel, a paper tissue or even a hairdryer set to cool, but never borrow someone else’s towel.
- • Avoid taking long, hot baths as these dry out the skin and mucous membranes.
Good daily habits
- • Avoid overly tight clothing and underwear made from synthetic fabrics, as these can cause irritation.
- • Change your underwear daily and opt for cotton if possible.
- • Wash your underwear at 60 °C.
- • During your period, change your sanitary protection every 4 to 6 hours and be particularly thorough when washing your intimate area.
- • After sexual intercourse, urinate to flush out any potential germs which could cause a urinary tract infection, and wash your hands.
- • After a bowel movement, always wipe yourself from front to back to avoid spreading harmful germs to the vagina.
- • Do not sit on public toilets. Avoid all contact with the toilet seat.
- • Finally, if you experience irritation, unusual discharge or embarrassing odours despite normal hygiene, see your gynaecologist.