This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Taking care of your vulvar and vaginal health is essential to your overall well-being. Vaginal health issues can negatively affect fertility, sex life, mental health, and more. Hence the importance of 'practicing' self-care for "down there," as it can help prevent discomfort, and vaginal infections, promote a healthy vaginal environment, and help you get more confidence in the bedroom.
To help you be kinder to your vagina and keep her healthy and happy, we've curated our list of the best 10 ways to practice self-care 'down there.'
Elevate your vulva routine with natural hygiene products:
When it comes to your vaginal health, non-toxic ingredients are always best. So opt for gentle, plant-based, and OB/GYN-formulated intimate hygiene products like Kushae that are pH balanced and will not compromise your health.
What to avoid in your intimate hygiene products
- Avoid using hygiene products that contain synthetic fragrances, parabens, dioxins, sulfates, etc. These harsh chemicals can cause vaginal infections, fertility issues, and cancer.
- Note: please read our previous articles for more information on what to avoid in your feminine hygiene products.
Practice proper hygiene and wipe correctly:
Your vagina (the internal bits) is like a self-cleaning oven that you never, and we mean Never, Ever, clean or wash. Your vulva, however, needs to be cleansed, moisturized, or manicured - if that's your thing! When cleansing your vulva (the external bits), use a gentle, non-toxic, and pH-balanced foaming wash to keep your vulva healthy. You should also wipe front to back to avoid bacteria from spreading between your anus into the vaginal canal.
Confused about which Kushae product to try first? Take the Kushae quiz to find a personalized product selection.
Practice safe sex and get tested often:
Always use condoms when having sexual intercourse and dental dams when having oral sex with a new partner or if you are not in a monogamous relationship to protect yourself from STIs.
If you are sexually active, you should also get tested regularly, even in a monogamous relationship.
Avoid UTIs by not holding your pee or urinating after sex:
Holding in your pee for too long can cause bacteria to multiply in your bladder, leading to a painful UTI, so pee when you have to!
Pee after sex, always; having sex increases the chance of bacteria getting into your urethra, so peeing after sex can help flush out bacteria that may have entered your urethra.
You should also avoid using antibiotics for long periods, as using antibiotics frequently can disrupt the natural pH balance of your vagina and make you more vulnerable to infections.
Eat right for your Vag and exercise regularly:
Your diet can significantly affect the health of your vagina; eating a diet high in processed foods, complex sugars, and caffeine can wreak havoc on your pH and promote the overgrowth of the 'bad' bacteria and yeast in your vagina.
What should you eat to keep your vagina healthy?
If you want to create a healthy environment where your vagina can thrive, eat the rainbow!
- Probiotic-rich Foods: yogurt, kefir, and fermented veggies like kimchi and pickles.
- Prebiotic Foods: garlic, onions, and asparagus.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: flaxseeds, chia seeds, and fatty fish like salmon and trout.
- Vitamin C-Rich Foods: citrus fruits, berries and kiwi.
Movement is life; it also helps with strong bones, strength, and helps with circulation. Working out improves blood flow throughout your body, including your vagina.
For even better vaginal circulation, practice your Kegels daily; Kegels can help strengthen your vaginal muscles, bladder, and the increased blood flow may also improve your sex life.
Stay hydrated throughout the day:
Just like eating the right foods help keep your vagina healthy and happy, so does keeping your body hydrated. When your vagina is well hydrated, you are less likely to suffer from pH balance issues, vaginal infections, and vaginal dryness.
While it is recommended that women should strive to drink up to 91 ounces of water a day, factors such as your weight, where you live, and how active you are, affect your water intake. Please consult your doctor if you have any questions about how much water you should drink to stay hydrated.
Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake:
Smoking and drinking alcohol can ruin your pH balance. Because alcohol dehydrates the body, it increases your risk of vaginal dryness and irritation. Smoking can also lead to vaginal dryness, increase your risk of getting BV, and make you more susceptible to contracting certain STIs like oral Herpes, HIV, and chlamydia trachomatis.
Take care of your mental health:
When stressed, your body releases cortisol, aka the stress hormones; high cortisol levels can negatively impact your vaginal microbiome, making it easier for you to get BV and yeast infections. Stress can also increase vaginal discharge, vaginal dryness and decrease your libido (low sex drive).
5 Easy tips to lower your stress
- Go for a walk.
- Take a social media break.
- Carve out some time daily to weekly to write down at least 3 things you're grateful for.
- Take yourself out on a date, take a bubble bath, or do something you've always wanted to do - prioritize self-care.
- Seek out a professional when you need it; everyone deals with stress at some point, but if it interferes with your daily life, you're constantly depressed, irritated, or easily overwhelmed, it may be time to seek professional help.
Wear cotton underwear or go commando:
You should always wear cotton underwear or cotton-crotch panties throughout the day to decrease the risk of vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections. Unlike synthetic fabrics that love to trap moisture, cotton underwear allows your vagina to breathe, thus reducing moisture buildup. To give your vagina even more room to breathe, sleep in your birthday suit or go commando at night.
Visit your OB/GYN often:
The worst thing you can do for your vaginal health is ditching or avoiding your Gyno! Even if you feel healthy or are a pro at taking care of your vaginal health, you should never miss your routine screenings and regular check-ups.
Certain gynecological conditions and cancers can only be detected through routine screenings and tests like the Pap smear, breast, and pelvic exams. These exams and screenings can help catch signs of cervical cancer, uterine issues, ovarian abnormalities, and other health concerns early on when they are more treatable and have a higher chance of successful outcomes. Early detection also means less invasive treatments and a better quality of life.
Vulva care is self-care, so take care of your vulva like you care for your skin, hair, and face - with love and attention. And remember, when it comes to vulva care, non-toxic and plant-based are always the way to go. Also, remember to always listen to your body, and if something feels off 'down there,' call your OB/GYN and schedule that appointment.
At Kushae, whether you are here to solve a problem – like musty odors, dryness, rubbing skin, ingrown hairs, or infection – or to create a daily vulva care regimen, we are here to help you feel your best!
Need to elevate your vulva care routine? Take the Kushae quiz for a personalized vulva routine curated just for you!