10 Ways to Keep Your Vagina Clean & Healthy

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1. Use Condom. You know that rubbers are great at protecting against STDs and pregnancy, but a study  suggests that using condoms helps keep your vagina’s PH level at the status quo so good bacteria, like lactobacilli, can survive in there. And this is super important since those little bacteria help prevent yeast infections, UTIs, and bacterial vaginosis. Just in case you needed another reason to wrap things up.

2. Wear Cotton Underwear. When it comes to your underwear selection, your vagina has a preference: cotton. That’s why most underwear comes with a thin strip of cotton fabric in the crotch.

3. Work It Out. Doing Kegels is crucial for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, which are key in producing stronger, mind-blowing orgasms—not to mention bladder control. Note to self: Include Kegels in every workout.

4. Take Yogurt. Snacking on yoghurt with live cultures helps boost the good bacteria in your hoo-ha, which, as you know, is all around fantastic for preventing annoying vaginal problems like yeast infections. Just be careful that you’re not noshing on the super-sugary kind because that could make you more susceptible to those infections.

5. Use Lubricant. Sometimes when you’re about to hit the sheets, it seems like your vagina just didn’t get the memo. But it’s totally normal—vaginal dryness can impact you if you take certain medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, or hormonal birth control. It can also crop up after pregnancy or shortly before menopause. When this happens, make sure you’re communicating with your partner so they don’t forge ahead before you’re properly lubricated, which is obviously painful and can cause abrasions.

6. Say No To Douching. Think you need some assistance keeping things all clear down there? You don’t. Studies have shown that using intravaginal hygiene products can put you at increased risk of infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and STDs. Just don’t do it.

7. Handling With Care While Cycling. An unexpected place you might be putting your vaginal health at risk is the cycling studio. If you’re a frequent rider, you could be at risk for genital numbness, pain, and tingling (not in a good way) while cycling. In fact, a study of female cyclists in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that a majority experienced these symptoms. If you love to hit up cycling studios, try wearing padded shorts and following these form of modifications to keep your vagina pain-free during your workout.

8. Approach Antibiotics With Caution. Another threat to your nether region’s good bacteria are antibiotics. Those pills can kill off some of that wonderful lactobacilli that keep your vagina healthy. Obviously, if you have to take an antibiotic to fight infection, you shouldn’t pass up the prescription, just load up on probiotic Greek yoghurt to reduce the damage.

9. Be Mindful of other Sex Act. Make sure not to go from anal to vaginal sex without changing the condom or properly cleaning off first. Going from backdoor to front exposes your vagina to a host of bacteria and can up your risk of infections.

10. Be Careful With Soap. That scented body wash may be awesome, but it doesn’t belong anywhere near your genitals. Soap can be really drying to the sensitive skin around your vulva, and you really only need to rinse with warm water to keep things clean down there. But if you just don’t feel right about going soap-free, stick with a plain, gentle, unscented soap.

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