Body & Fitness

Intimate advice

Maintaining vaginal health is a delicate balance, Health Writer Donna Fleming explains.

It’s one of those subjects that we just don’t discuss – at least not without feeling embarrassed.

Intimate hygiene is often a concern for women, not least because there are more sweat glands in the vaginal area than there are under our arms, so odour can be a problem.

While you can wash with soap and water to get rid of smells, this may do more harm than good in the long run, because soaps and body washes can disrupt the pH levels of the vaginal area. This part of the body is particularly sensitive, and products not specifically designed to be used there can end up leading to further problems.

Instead, it pays to use products like those in the Vagisil Intimate Washes range that have been purpose-made to cleanse sensitive skin in the area. There are different washes available to suit different needs.

Using these products can become a part of your daily routine, like putting moisturiser on your skin or using toothpaste to clean your teeth. They can leave you feeling a lot more confident.

What is pH and how does it affect my vagina?

It stands for the power of hydrogen and is a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen ion in the body. Levels of pH range from 1 -14, with lower numbers being acidic and higher ones being more alkaline. Our vaginal pH levels are slightly acidic, and should be somewhere between 3.5- 4.5 to stay as healthy as possible.

What affects pH levels?

The delicate levels can be disrupted by a number of things, such as having your period, having sex, going through menopause, other hormonal changes and using products not specifically designed to be used on this part of the body.

Why should you use special products instead of soaps or body wash?

Vagisil intimate washes are pH balanced and specifically designed to help cleanse, protect and maintain the good health of the area around the vagina. They don’t just mask odour, Fresh Plus also has a special protection formula that controls it.

They help to keep your pH level in that healthy range of 3.5-4.5 on the pH scale. Soaps and body washes, however, are slightly alkaline, which can disrupt your vaginal pH balance. An imbalance can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria that may cause odour and discomfort.

What’s the best way to have good vaginal health?

To cleanse, only use products that are pH balanced and designed to be used there. Plus make sure they are only used to gently clean the external vulva area – do not scrub vigorously.

And do not douche – the vagina has been cleverly designed to be self-cleansing using discharge (the same way that saliva helps to clean your mouth), and douching can lead to an imbalance in pH levels and resulting health issues.

When should you use intimate wash products?

They can be used every day as part of your normal cleansing routine – you don’t need to wait until you have had any issues. Just as you clean your teeth every day and moisturise your skin, using a product like Vagisil can help to keep you healthy, clean, fresh and confident.

Available in supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.

This content was sponsored by Vagisil

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