VULVAL CARE 101

Good perineal care tells a lot about your personal hygiene as a woman. It enhances your sexual health, boosts your confidence and improves your general wellbeing. It’s even more important during pregnancy as pathogens in the genital tract can be passed on to the baby during childbirth. The vagina has lots of “friendly bacteria” which help to eliminate harmful microbes. Even though the vagina is self-cleansing, the rest of the external genitalia must be cleaned regularly to avoid upward migration of these pathogens. 

Here are some useful tips… 
*Keep the area clean but avoid using soap. Soaps kill your friendly bacteria (the normal flora) and allow the growth of pathogenic ones

*Clean from front to back to avoid introducing faeces into the vagina.

*Clean the area after urinating, preferably with water; urine is a powerful irritant. 

*Clean the vulva immediately before and after sexual intercourse. This goes a long way in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. 

*Dry out the extra moisture after rinsing: use a clean dry towel, guaze or toilet paper.

*Opt for soap-free shower gels, bath oils, or just plain water.

*Salt baths may help relieve irritation but don’t use routinely. 

*Allow air circulation to avoid sweating. 

*Minimise tight clothing eg. Jeans. 

*Use loose underwear and bed clothes.

*Consider removing underwear at bedtime or whenever the weather is hot. 

*Avoid synthetic underwear, like nylon, and wool. Opt for cotton. 

*Minimise the use of vaginal lubricants, especially perfumed oils. Go for natural oils like olive and almond oils. 

*Avoid douching. 

*Avoid insertion of creams, suppositories and other chemical substances, unless prescribed by a doctor. 

*Avoid indiscriminate use of vaginal tightening creams. Consult a doctor for expert advice. 

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Author: Khadijah Sanni-Tijani

Khadijah is a young Nigerian woman, a muslim, a wife, a mum, a doctor and a blogger. She was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. She is currently practising in Saudi Arabia.

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