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Taking care of your vulva

Don't use soap to wash your labia, it's better to use just water.

10 tips: How do you keep your vulva and vagina clean and healthy?

  1. Put on clean underwear every day.
    Your panties might smell a bit if you wear them for a long time. That is because discharge from your vagina is on them. Discharge is normal and healthy. But throw your panties in the wash after you’ve worn them once.
  2. Use cotton underwear without a panty liner.
    Synthetic underwear and panty liners make you sweat more and may cause irritation in your vagina. This causes yet more discharge, making your vulva smelly.
  3. Wash your labia with lukewarm water, but not with soap. Don't use vaginal soap either.
    Don't use soap to wash your labia, as this will upset the acid balance in your vagina. You may end up with itching, irritation, yeast infections (thrush), bacterial vaginosis and pain when having sex. So wash with water only.
  4. Don't wash your vagina on the inside. It keeps itself clean.
    Don't use vaginal soap either. Washing your vagina with it disrupts the pH balance. This can lead to itching, irritation, yeast infections (thrush), bacterial vaginosis and pain when having sex.
  5. Does your discharge suddenly smell completely different? Go to a doctor.
    Has something in your discharge changed? Is your discharge perhaps much thicker, thinner, a different colour or has a bad smell? Do you have pain or itching? Go to your own doctor or make an appointment at a Sense clinic. You may have a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis or an STI.
  6. Wipe from the front to the back when you go to the toilet.
    First along your vulva, then back towards your buttocks. This way, bacteria from your anus cannot get into your urethra. It is how you avoid getting a bladder infection.
  7. Take a pee after having sex.
    When you have sex, sometimes bacteria (your partner’s or your own) get into the urethra. By emptying your bladder completely after having sex, you flush out any bacteria from the urethra. This also prevents a bladder infection.
  8. Periods? Change sanitary pads and tampons regularly.
    Change sanitary pads and tampons every few hours. Don’t use them for longer than 8 hours. They may start to cause irritation.
  9. Shaving or not shaving your pubic hair? Do what feels good for you.
    Are you unsure whether to shave your pubic hair or to leave it as it is? Do what you think is attractive and what feels good for you. One is not healthier than the other one. More about shaving your pubic hair.
  10. Look at your vulva and vagina in a mirror.
    A penis is prominent, your vulva and vagina are not. Because of this, some women have never seen their own vagina. But the more you know about how your vagina works, feels and looks, the easier it is to take care of it. And  the better you are prepared for sex. To look at your vulva and vagina you need a mirror. More about looking at your vulva and vagina.