As women, we often have to come to terms with the fact that talking about our sexual or health related issues and problems is still quite a big taboo topic for the people around us. We get our main information from the internet and although that is not as cool, it is reassuring to find so many other women around the world with the same problems that we face.
Here in Pakistan, as kids, most of us have not had the privilege of getting a lesson in feminine hygiene although it is an issue that will cause most of us quite a lot of trouble and potentially much shame if not dealt with properly.
Dealing with hygiene issues down there can be an awkward conversation to have even with your mother or your sisters, let alone a medical practitioner. However, just as other health issues, this is a natural phenomenon and while our reproductive system can handle itself quite well on it’s own, there are several things we can help it with.
The number one misconception when it comes to the vagina or the vulva is the fact that it needs cleaning. This is a misconception that stems from the sometimes undesirable odor that may waft up from down below, however, it is important to note that each individual’s nether regions will naturally have some sort of a smell. This does not mean that one should subject the area to harsh and sometimes toxic cleaners or soaps.
The vagina, in all it’s glory self cleans and is capable of maintaining it’s own pH balance very well. If you are experiencing really bad or pungent odors, this says more about your diet or the clothing that you are wearing.
To minimize the risk of this happening do change your undergarments daily and be sure to wear only breathable cotton materials. Include more natural produce and products into your diet such as yoghurt which contains good bacteria that can help maintain a better pH balance and can even ward off yeast infections.
Another great tip to prevent any nasty symptoms is to make sure the area is clean and dry, especially after using the toilet. Changing your sanitary products often during periods is also a good way to reduce risk of any trouble. Contrary to old wive’s tales, taking a shower during your period is essential and can help keep things clean.
Wearing airy and loose clothing can also help keep things cool down there, especially in summer where sweat and buildup is a definite problem. If all of this doesn’t work, then you need to visit your doctor, especially in case of any sort of infection, prolonged rotten smells and/or strange discharge.
The most important thing to remember however, is that there is no shame in experiencing any of these problems. They are your body’s way of telling you to change certain unhealthy habits and will keep things smooth in the longer run.