We all know how important it is to take care of our vaginal health, but with so many sources telling us different information, it can be hard to decipher who to trust. As people who bleed, we need to be able to separate the facts from fiction in order to prevent any avoidable vaginal infections or irritation. Check out some of the tall tales about vaginal health that have been debunked.
Myth #1: You should wear panty liners every day if you have a heavy discharge.
While wearing panty liners is a great alternative to pads if you’re having a light period or just for extra coverage during the day, it’s best not to use them every day. Prolonged use of panty liners can increase your risk of infections, as well as irritation that can cause itching, burning, and thick discharge. Try to change your liners often and don’t wear them for longer than a day.
Myth #2: You can wear any type of underwear.
Now, who doesn’t love a cute thong or a silky pair of undies? While we all love a good pair of underwear, certain fabrics can cause vaginal problems. Silk, satin, and other material don’t allow for your vagina to breathe, leading to excessive moisture that can cause infections. Also, very tight underwear can make for a very irritated vagina as well. Aim for panties made out of cotton or other breathable material to keep your vagina happy.
Bonus tip: Go to sleep without underwear to give your vagina more airflow at night.
Myth #3: You should always wash your vagina with a douche or other cleansers.
Given the heavy advertisements of vaginal douches and cleaners, you may believe that this is necessary for vaginal hygiene. However, this is completely not the case at all. The use of douches and cleansers is not recommended by physicians, as it can alter the flora and acidity of the vagina. The disruption of the acidity and flora can lead to bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection, which if left untreated, can migrate to other reproductive organs, causing serious health problems.
Myth #4: If you have any type of vaginal discharge, it means you have a yeast infection.
Vaginal discharge is a normal part of vaginal health, as it is the result of the vagina’s self-cleansing process. It can vary in color based on menstruation or an STD. If your vaginal discharge is white, clear, and stretchy, that is typically a sign of a healthy vagina. Signs of a yeast infection include discharge that is white but has a thick, cottage-cheese consistency to it. Seek medical treatment immediately if you notice changes in your discharge.
Myth #5: Pain during intercourse is completely normal to experience.
If you’re feeling discomfort during sex, this is not a normal component of intimacy. While this issue can be due to vaginal dryness or a lack of lubrication, there can be other health problems causing painful intercourse. If you believe that you’re dealing with vaginal dryness, try a water-based lubricant. Try Astroglide’s Personal Water Based Lubricant, which is available here, or Shibari’s Premium Personal Water Based Lubricant, which you can purchase here on Amazon. If you believe it’s something more serious, such as vaginismus, endometriosis, or a vaginal infection, speak to your healthcare provider to receive treatment.
Myth #6: Jade (or Yoni) eggs are great for improving your vagina’s health.
For those who frequent Instagram often, you’ve probably seen at least one post promoting Jade or Yoni eggs. These egg-shaped stones supposedly help improve vaginal health by strengthening pelvic muscles and increasing “feminine energy.” Despite the perceived benefits of Jade eggs, there is not any scientific data to back these claims, and the eggs can pose several health risks. Jade eggs are porous, meaning that bacteria can easily enter the stones, possibly causing a vaginal infection. Also, there is the risk of irritation as you can scratch the inside of the vagina trying to retrieve the stone.
If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your pelvic floor, explore different and safe masturbation techniques, such as a sex toy.
Myth #7: Shaving or waxing your pubic hair keeps your vagina healthy.
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping your vagina nicely groomed, it doesn’t help protect you from infection; rather, it can actually do the complete opposite. The act of shaving or waxing your pubic hair can create cuts and sores that allow for bacteria to easily enter the vagina. During intercourse, a clean vagina does not have the protection of pubic hair to separate itself from the other person’s genitalia. This lack of protection between two sexual partners makes it easier for STDs to spread.
If you decide to continue shaving, use the following practices (via Very well Health):
- Always use a new, clean razor
- Keep a separate razor that you only use for your vagina
- Don’t shave or wax if you’re showing symptoms of an STD
- Don’t shave or wax right before you have intercourse.
Taking care of your vagina doesn’t have to be stressful, but is important that you are ensuring that you are using the right products and methods to ensure that it is clean and healthy. Share this information with everyone that bleeds to keep them informed and always seek out medical advice from a healthcare professional when needed.