Genital Hygiene for Women
A woman undergoes so many hormonal changes throughout her life with each stage bringing a plethora of hormonal fluctuations. The latter affects the vulvovaginal area to a great extent, but still, skin care for private areas is one of the most under-addressed issues. Women feel embarrassed to discuss or even ask their queries regarding genital hygiene. I have tried to address a few of these common issues and concerns and actively encourage them to address their concerns and anxiety in my clinic.
Women tend to be a little more particular and over enthusiastic when it comes to cleaning their private parts.
a) Avoid using irritant products like harsh soaps and vaginal washes to clean the vulva. Nature has a way of maintaining the vaginal ecosystem.
b) Do not wash the vulva too often (once a day is usually enough) as this may cause dryness and irritation.
c) Overwashing the vulvovaginal area disturbs the normal ecoflora hence predisposing to candidal infections.
d) Apply an emollient (moisturising) ointment, cream or lotion regularly.
Wash your vulva gently, using either your hands or a soft flannel or cloth. Pat the area dry with a soft towel or tissue. If your vulva is inflamed, it is preferable to use an emollient as a substitute for soap. Do not use cleansing wet wipes or perfumed tissue.
An emollient will moisturise and soothe the vulval skin if it is sore or itchy. In general, keep these points in mind when choosing a moisturiser :
a)Avoid perfumed products or ones which have ‘fragrance’ labeled as a constituent.
b)Avoid perfumed vaginal washes or irritants like Dettol for washing your private areas.
c)Avoid preservatives like paraben-containing products especially close to genitalia.