Intimate hygiene is still a taboo subject. But self-care and self-grooming are immensely important.
“Even with the increasing female literacy rate across rural and urban areas, adoption of poor hygienic practices during menstruation or otherwise among women of all ages persists. Such topics are either discussed in hushed tones with metaphors or simply not talked about,” say Archit Agarwal and Harry Sehrawat, founders of SANFE.
In order to address the issue, it is important to understand how cleanliness works.
“Just like our digestive system, which contains friendly gut bacteria, the skin and lining surrounding a woman’s vaginal area contains friendly bacteria, too, which produces an acid. This acid maintains a healthy internal environment and prevents the growth of unfriendly bacteria or yeast, which can cause infection,” explains Agarwal.
Think of these “friendly” bacteria as protectors of the area. “Cleanliness is vital because of the various cycles women go through, including menstruation. Irregular cleaning and poor hygiene during periods can lead to the growth and spread of bacteria in genitals, with unfortunate repercussions,” Sehrawat adds.
Not only that, we often practise various hair removal techniques such as shaving, which further expose the private parts to bacteria. Even though the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, using cleansers with strong chemicals can irritate it.
“But, using intimate washes and hair oils can help in lessening the burning sensation, rashes, post razor bumps and itching, treating the pubic hard ingrown hair and removing the unwanted odour.”
What happens if you do not keep intimate hygiene?
Using soaps can turn things worse, because some soaps can disrupt the pH balance of your vagina by washing away a helpful bacteria called lactobacilli.
Women should give importance to intimate hygiene no matter what stage their lives are at or regardless of their age.
“Improper care can lead to various vulva infections primarily known as ‘vulvovaginitis’, which is caused by different bacteria,” shares Agarwal.
Intimate hygiene products like washes help in balancing the vaginal pH level, preventing itchiness and bacterial infection in the vaginal area. It also helps in the growth of good bacteria lactobacillus.