How to clean your vagina and intimate area

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The vagina is an extremely sensitive area and even the smallest of changes can cause imbalances. Changes to your diet, the material of your underwear or the body wash you use could all alter the vagina’s natural bacteria levels, and when this happens, you may experience symptoms such as strong odour or unusual discharge. Although the vagina is self-cleaning, you may resort to using strongly perfumed soaps or body washes to reduce these symptoms in an attempt to get rid of the problem. However, products like these could actually further upset the natural bacteria in the vagina and make the problem worse. It can quickly become a vicious cycle, and you need to rebalance the natural bacteria in order to help solve the issues. So what can you use to restore the natural  pH of your lady parts?

Before we reveal the answer, we’d first like to determine which areas of your anatomy you should and shouldn’t clean.

The vagina is the internal tube that runs from a woman’s cervix to the outside of her body. This area shouldn’t be cleaned, as you’ll only upset the natural bacteria in it. What you should be cleaning is the external intimate area, or vulva. The vulva is made up of all the external sex organs, including the clitoris and the inner and outer labia. These are the areas that you should be cleaning while bathing.


What to wash your vulva with

We’ve determined which areas you should be cleaning, but what products should you be using?

You should avoid using body wash or soap that you use elsewhere on your body. The rest of your skin may not be as sensitive as the skin around your vulva, so you may wish to use a different product that’s made especially for the intimate area. You wouldn’t use face wash to clean your feet and the same applies for body washes being used on your vulva.

We’d recommend that you avoid overly scented soaps and washes that are full of unnatural chemicals. These can alter the natural balance of the intimate area and may cause irritation and even infections such as Thrush. BETAFEM® Feminine Wash Foam contains mainly natural ingredients, including Immortelle, SyriCalm and DeoPlex. Immortelle is a natural antioxidant that improves the moisture levels of the skin, while SyriCalm soothes the skin to reduce irritation and DeoPlex acts as an odour neutraliser. All of these ingredients work together to help make your intimate area feel clean and healthy.

How you apply this product is up to you. You can either use a clean flannel or your hands to clean your vulva using this product. If you apply the product with a flannel, it should be washed after every use.


Should you wash your vulva with soap?

Soap has been a popular product for years and seems to be the go-to for many people when it comes to washing their vulva. However, soap can destroy healthy bacteria, strip away natural oils and alter the pH of your skin. The vagina is naturally acidic and it’s important that the pH level remains between 3.5 and 4.5. Using soap could alter this, making the area more alkaline and too dry.


Should you wash your vulva after sex?

As mentioned previously, the vagina is capable of cleaning itself, even after sex and when sperm is present. The vagina should produce more or less bacteria, depending on what it needs to rebalance the area and restore the natural pH. Therefore, you shouldn’t clean the vaginal canal itself after sex - you could cause damage to the area and upset its natural flora.

However, it may be beneficial to wash your external intimate area, or vulva after sex. Doing so could help to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) from developing, however it isn’t imperative that you do so immediately after intercourse. If you have a history of UTIs or frequently contract other vaginal infections such as Thrush or Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), then washing your vulva after sex could be beneficial.


How to clean your vulva after sex

If you do wash after sex, avoid cleaning the vagina itself and only clean the external intimate organs using a mild wash. If you use sex toys, these should be thoroughly cleaned after every use. Mild, soap-free and scent-free wipes and washes are good for this task and could ensure that you don’t get an infection the next time you use them.

Going for a wee after sex could help prevent a UTI too, as it clears any bacteria that could be lurking in your urethra. While there’s no evidence that urinating can prevent UTIs, some medical professionals believe that it can help.

* This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. You should consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions.