Throughout life, meticulous ? but not excessive ? intimate hygiene is essential to maintain the vagina and vulva’s fragile balance. But in certain circumstances – menstruation, sexual intercourse, sport and exercise, pregnancy, menopause – extra measures must be added to these daily habits. Discover our advice to keep your intimate area comfortable and healthy in those particular moments.
During menstruation, women can easily feel unclean because of the blood loss and the sanitary protection which increases the feeling of discomfort.
Nevertheless, it is not necessary to wash the intimate area more often at this time: one or two careful washes per day are enough, using a mild cleanser with a physiological pH (around 5), specially formulated for daily use on the intimate area. Washing more than this is not only unnecessary, it can even be harmful: when used excessively, hard water and cleansing products alter the moist film that protects the mucous membranes and can thus trigger irritation. You should also avoid vaginal douches, which disturb the vagina’s natural balance.
To keep your intimate area comfortable and healthy during your period, the most important thing you can do is to change your sanitary protection regularly: at least every 4 hours, or more often if you have a heavy flow.
If you are prone to frequent irritation, opt for pads rather than tampons, as the latter dry out the inside of the vagina and are often less well tolerated. In any case, wearing your sanitary protection for too long encourages the proliferation of bacteria, leading to a risk of irritation and infection.
From a health perspective, it is not necessary to wash your intimate area after sexual intercourse. But if doing so will help you feel more comfortable, do not hesitate to freshen up.
It is important, however, to urinate shortly after intercourse, to flush out any germs that might be present at the urethra opening. This is a simple and effective way to prevent urinary tract infections. Remember also to wash your hands before and after sexual intercourse.
After sport or exercise
During strenuous exercise, perspiration causes persistent moisture around the vulva and this can lead to discomfort and itching. Clothing that is overly tight or made from synthetic fibres is more likely to exacerbate perspiration and friction, which cause irritation. Instead, opt for looser fits and 100% cotton.
After sport or exercise, take a shower to freshen up and wash your intimate area with a mild cleanser. After showering, ensure you dry all intimate area skin folds thoroughly with a clean towel or a hairdryer set to cool.
If your intimate area is not causing you any discomfort, you do not need to change your habits during pregnancy: carefully and gently wash your intimate area once or twice a day, as usual.
However, pregnancy-related hormonal changes upset the delicate balance of the vaginal flora and, once it is weakened, the intimate area can be prone to irritation. In this case, temporarily switch to an intimate hygiene product formulated to treat irritation. Switch back to your usual hygiene product once the problem has disappeared. You should also avoid wearing panty liners every day, because they promote maceration and irritation.
Happy senior woman. Isolated on white background.During menopause, female hormone levels in the body drop and periods stop. As this upsets the vaginal flora, dryness and irritation often occur. At this time, you must wash your intimate area once or twice per day as usual, but more gently than ever: steer well clear of vaginal douches and soaps. Instead, use a mild and hydrating hygiene product specially formulated for dryness in this area. Lastly, be careful to dry yourself thoroughly.