WHEN it comes to taking care of your lady parts, there are some details that many women bypass and end up doing more damage under the guise of cleanliness. According to obstetrician-gynaecologist (ObGyn) Dr Jordan Hardie, hygiene is very important for general health and well-being; however, there are few common mistakes women make in an attempt to maintain proper vaginal hygiene.
1. Douching, scented soaps and vaginal fragrances
Dr Hardie said the use of douches, scented soaps or vaginal fragrances to clean and change the odour of the vagina is actually quite harmful. “They can lead to a change in the normal vaginal environment, leading to an increased risk of vaginal infections,” he said.
2. Tight, occlusive clothing
“Tight, occlusive clothing increases the warmth and moisture in the pelvic region, providing an environment for growth of bacteria and yeast which may lead to vaginal infections. Clothing made of cotton improves absorption of sweat,” he advised.
3. Wiping back to front
The ObGyn said this is an absolute no-no. He explained that this leads to bacteria from the anus getting into the vagina. Instead, he said after passing urine, wiping should be from front to back.
4. Not changing pads and tampons
Dr Hardie said soiled pads and tampons are an ideal environment for bacteria to grow and can lead to severe vaginal infections, and in the most severe cases, to Toxic Shock Syndrome. “Sanitary pads and tampons should be changed regularly throughout the day to reduce these risks,” he said.
5. Damp swimsuits and clothing
Dr Hardie said damp swimsuits and clothing increase the moisture in the vaginal region, which can predispose a woman to vaginal infections. As a result, he said they should be changed as soon as possible after swimming to reduce the risk of developing such infections.
— Kimberley Hibbert