Personal hygiene: Should you use vaginal douches?

You may have come across many ads and posts on social media about intimate soaps that claim to lighten, brighten and balance vaginal Ph levels. Yes, intimate hygienealthough not much talked about, it is extremely crucial to prevent infections and other health risks, but there are many misconceptions about the same – should you use vaginal douches, if so, how are they beneficial and how much is too much?

Previously in Conversation with Dr Megha Ranjan, Assistant Professor, Department of Obs & Gynae, Sharda Hospital, explained that the intimate wash is a solution for women to clean their private parts. Such washes are used to treat dryness, itching and irritation of intimate areas. They also help maintain a normal vaginal pH, which is important for preventing bacterial infection.

According to Dr. According to Surabhi Siddhartha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, the vagina is a self-cleansing organ and does not need special cleaning products. “It is important to remember that the vulva area, which includes the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and vaginal opening, is the external organ of the female reproductive system, and that the vagina is its internal organ. In addition to eradicating several dangerous microorganisms, the fluid produced by the vulva and vagina also keeps the vaginal pH stable,” added Dr. Surabhi.

Bathing the vagina regularly with abrasive soaps, gels or douches can disrupt the pH balance of the vagina and increase the likelihood of infections and odor, she added. “Bathing the vagina with abrasive soaps or gel waters can create microscopic cuts and dry out the vaginal mucosa, which is an ideal environment for bacterial or fungal growth and can worsen an existing vaginal infection,” she told

Dr Tanaya Narendra, known as Dr Cuterus on Instagram, also talked about the dos and don’ts of using intimate washes. “Do you really need to wash your intimate hygiene? Well, the answer is simple, but not that simple. If you want to use a gentle wash, use it; but you don’t have to use it. If you’re going to use it, you have to use it only on the outside, which is the vulva.”

She went on to explain that the vulva is the part of your body that touches your clothes and the parts you can see. “The vagina is the channel inside. You shouldn’t even put water in your vagina, let alone vaginal douche. If you want to clean, you can clean the vulva with douche or water,” she added.

When defining the ideal product for intimate washing, Dr. Rajan explained that a vaginal wash should be “soap-free, irritant-free and hypoallergenic.”

Some of the important ingredients to look out for when choosing an intimate wash are lactic acid, glycerin, sodium hydroxide, cocamidopropyl betadine and water.

What can help?

Daily bathing of the vulva and external genitalia with warm water is sufficient for proper personal hygiene. “We don’t need to clean the vagina because it cleans itself. However, maintaining excellent vaginal and reproductive health requires regular cleaning of the external genitalia. For personal hygiene, several doctors recommend washing the intimate area with warm water. If you use such items temporarily, make sure they are gentle, odorless, and chemical-free. The area should then be thoroughly rinsed and dried,” described Dr. Surabhi.

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