99 Problems But An Unhygienic Vagina Shouldn’t Be One
“Take this, it’s good for your vagina”, said no parent ever to ensure your lady part is as healthy as your bones. “A clean underwear a day keeps the gynaecologist away,” said no school book to make you learn the right things about vaginal hygiene.
The internet is loaded with questions from women about what’s normal and what’s not, what requires medical attention, the do’s and don'ts, and so on. What’s troubling is not the million questions floating on the internet but the unwillingness to seek professional help and instead invest in cheap products and resort to home remedies. Reasons behind this could be multiple— you’re sexually active with your boyfriend and end up thinking that’s the cause of the problem, you feel awkward visiting a gynaecologist, you feel ashamed to talk about the issue with friends or family, or the lack money for treatment.
Information overload: The good, bad and ugly
Yes, there’s enough awareness by now and we know that our lady parts need as much attention as other body parts. Unfortunately, there’s an information overload and nobody ever achieved the right things with an overload of medical information, did they?
On a popular Reddit community called ‘HealthyHuha’, a 19 year-old girl posted a query about a supposed yeast infection and about trying home remedies to her self-diagnosed problem. She writes, “hi im 19 and i dont have anyone to ask at home what to do when you have a yeast infection 😭 im pretty sure i have it because ive compared pictures of discharge and searched up about it. i don't know what to do. i'm trying really hard to stick to home remedies because i don't want to tell my mom and i dont think ill be able to afford it if i buy off the counter on my own. so far ive tried the diluted vinegar method where u soak, and applying it every after i pee. i saw somewhere to boil water with 4 cloves of garlic and drink it. should i try that? lmk pls huhu.”
While such communities and platforms can be greatly used to stay informed, they also have their own disadvantages, where people end up following random instructions by random people. But hey, this isn’t a Swiggy or Zomato review.
Another anonymous person on ‘HealthyHuha’ discovered odd symptoms down there and was scared to go to a clinic. They wrote, “Hey all. So I suffer from health anxiety especially around the vaginal area. Today on my labia lip I found a singular whitehead. Is it a symptom of an STI? Is it a pimples Can you get whiteheads in the area? There is no redness around it - and I am scared to go into a clinic since I don’t want to seem annoying. (I went for routine STI testing last week).”
Listen to the experts
Vulva owners are trying to care for their lady parts as much as they’re caring for their skin, hair and wardrobes. Apart from the basics like wearing clean underwear every day, women are washing it, shaving it, waxing, using vaginal scents and staying alert with odd symptoms. They’re also investing in intimate washes, products specially manufactured to clean the female genitalia.
However, the doctors are anti-intimate washes and don’t think it’s the healthiest thing to do. Dr Shweta Devarshi, a gynaecologist working in Delhi said, “The best way to clean the region is water as it keeps the pH level of your vagina intact.”
Dr Gautami Desai, a Gynaecologist in Manesar, warns, “Using intimate washes can cause dryness and fungal infection. No doctor will ever recommend using it.” She also said that using betadine solution or splashing water on that region also helps you fight infections of all kinds.
According to a study conducted by US-based National Library of Medicine, there are no known benefits of washing your genital area with a solution, adding that this can possibly break the region’s natural defence mechanism and can make it prone to infections like pelvic inflammatory disease and STDs.The study states that regular washing (using water) can prevent accumulation of sweat, vaginal discharge, urine and faecal contamination to get rid of body odour.
No proper clinical trials have been carried out yet to understand the benefits of regular vaginal washing using intimate foams and washes.
Platforms like Instagram, Reddit and Google are only here to help you understand that you’re not alone with all the problems you’re facing with the little flower down there. They're here to know you can openly have discussions with fellow flower owners and to know vaginal hygiene is supremely important but ladies, seeking professional help should always be on top!