Many women tired of getting a UTI after sexwonder if they should clean the inside of their vagina. The answer is no. It’s a bad, bad idea. Read on to find out why and what you can do to prevent UTIs.

Why You Should Not Clean

Vaginas are designed to keep themselves clean. No outside help needed! That’s why vaginas have natural secretions and discharge. However, you can wash your vulva (external sex organs). Use warm water, and if you want, mild soap that is unscented and colorless. If you clean your vulva, make sure the water and soap don’t get inside your vagina. You should also wash your anus to prevent bacteria from traveling to your vagina. Wash front to back. Vulva first, then anus.

If you wash your vagina (or use a feminine wash or spray), it could irritate both your vagina and vulva and increase your risk of infections. It is normal for your vagina to smell like a vagina. It is not supposed to smell like a meadow of freshly bloomed flowers. Of course, if the smell is abnormal,  unpleasant or excessive, let your doctor know.

Good bacteria live inside your vagina to protect it and to keep its pH balance stable. If this balance is upset or if too many types of bad bacteria invade, a UTI or other problem can occur. That’s why douches are not recommended. Not only do they wash out helpful bacteria, they increase the risk of UTIs and STIs.

So How Can I Deal with UTIs?

UTIs are downright frustrating. Even worse is when a UTI comes back after antibiotics. You thought you were clear, but nope, the UTI is back. Bacteria are sneaky. They often evade antibiotics by clinging to the walls of your bladder. They can emerge later and cause a new infection. This may be the case in your situation, or perhaps you are naturally prone to getting UTIs. It’s helpful to identify (if possible) what mainly causes your UTIs. For instance, perhaps you didn’t realize you should urinate after sex, or you douche often.

Explore natural UTI prevention options. For example, you can take a capsule daily to prevent frequent, recurring infections. There are even products aimed toward women who aren’t sure what is causing their UTIs. Don’t clean the inside of your vagina, but do consider taking these UTI prevention products.

In addition, experts recommend these steps: Urinate fully after sex to flush out newly introduced and potentially harmful bacteria, minimize your use of douches, wear cotton underwear to reduce moisture in your genital area, and eat healthfully to keep your pH balance in check. Also, change your underwear at least once a day and wipe front to back. Shower at least every two or three days. Baths aren’t great because the chemicals in products can irritate your vagina. Drink water regularly, and don’t hold your urine for too long.

Also, re-evaluate your birth control methods. For instance, spermicidal lube can mess with pH balances, and diaphragms may irritate the tissue of your vulva.


 

About the author

Layla FInn

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