Disclaimer: I wanted to write about the male and female anatomy(region-area), but there aren't a lot of resources focused on the male nether region, hopefully, that changes in the near future.
I've been taking care of my vagina for 26 years, we're close, we understand each other (at least I hope so), we've been through good times and bad times, so I know when something's wrong, but that took a lot of mishaps, googling, and years of experience: Which is why I think it would have been great to learn about hygiene and upkeep back in middle or high school or even as early as the age of four:
Tip 1: When It comes to cleaning and washing
When cleaning remember to focus on the external- wash the vulva or the nether region
- Wash from the vagina to the anus, never the opposite direction because that causes transfer of bacteria.
- I've heard some people say, use a sponge/cloth to clean the vagina but, I don't only because sponges and cloth carry other bacterial organism and I think about the build up, but do/use what makes you comfortable.
- Your vagina has a cleaning system that cleans the inside
- Best to wear cotton underwear, yes that is part of cleaning, it helps the vagina breathe, and its comfortable *it might be irritable during times of sleep so it's okay to go commando)
Check out,Our Bodies, Ourselves: Self-Exams the Vulva and Vagina
Ph level- The female vagina has a naturally acidic pH that rangesfrom 3.5 to 4.5. This acidic environment maintains that the levels of “good” and “bad” bacteria in balance.
Tip 2: The Don't with a hint of does but mostly DON'T
- Don't wash with anything fruity- you'll be prone to yeast infections and other bacteria
- Don't put soap of any kind, into your vagina:go back to tip one, focus on the surroundings
- Don't STEAM: That's harmful( you're messing with you ph levels and prone to bacteria infections) your vagina needs to breathe, your uterus doesn't need to be steamed and it sounds painful
- DON'T DOUCHE: Why? because it increases infections, you're also riding your vagina of the "good bacteria" which ultimately messes with your ph level And someone told me it's really uncomfortable.
- DO: Trim your vaginal hair for grooming purposes , reduces feminine odor, and it feels refreshing but it's not necessary because the hair actually helps to protect the genitals from friction. DON'T JUDGE PEOPLE EITHER WAY
Tip 3: If you're feeling dry down there don't panic
There is nothing wrong with you:
- That happens during menstruations
- Your ph balance may be a little off, there are soaps (mild and unscented)
- There are many reasons why BUT DON'T GOOGLE
I know it may be awkward (no matter your age), but it's best to seek a physician ObGYN, and Planned Parenthood is a good source.
- Remember to make annual check-ups. There are some places that offer free services if you don't have insurance (will update :)), I know college campuses(some) have practitioners who are licensed in exams.
Tip 4: In times of Menstruation and Imbalances
Tips during your Period:
You're prone to bacterial infections like UTI and yeast infections during menstruation so:
- Taking more showers than usual is a must, especially after exercising or doing anything strenuous
- You can wear pads and tampons for up to 4 hours and cups for at least 12hrs but it's all about comfort level.-Change regularly
- Pad rashes happen sometimes when you have a heavy flow, antiseptic ointment helps to alleviate the itching and rash
- Do not: Flush pads or tampons down the toilet
Also, shelters are in need of hygiene products i.e sanitary napkins. Shelters usually have to in-kind donations because the government doesn't (at the moment) provide them with hygiene products and without them, the women risk infections and other things, so if you're donating to a shelter please remember that they are in need of tampons, pads, and etc *and socks because its winter*
In actuality, the vagina is very low maintenance, wash it, try to eat well, don't wash, put, or scrub with foreign objects that will cause harm i.e douche, consult with your doctor once in a while, and ask your vagina how it's doing.
*EXTRA STUFF* Click Images!!!
Have you heard about California's Prop 60? A bill that requires porn stars to wear condoms. Some people are against this bill, some are for the bill, and some may not even know this bill exist so here is a guide to Prop 60.
In terms of mental health, do we treat men and women differently?: The stigma of Mental Health and sexism combined in one piece, why do we sympathize with Kid Cudi but not Kehalni.
Check out our Weekly Reads: From Obama signing the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill to our book recommendation.
Also, today is#WorldMentalHealthDay, you're not alone, you're worth it, beautiful, and also, if you need someone to talk to, we are here via comment section or site *we are not professionals but we are great listeners and if we can't help, we will direct you to the best person or group* AND someone told me about the app 7cups, they're a free counseling and listening source too.