Feminine hygiene

With so many female hygiene products on the market it’s becoming more difficult to sift through the do’s and don’ts. Often the not-so-harmless habits and products that you use can have a significant impact on the health of your lady parts. 1

Vaginal health is an important part of a woman’s overall health. Ongoing vaginal health issues can cause stress or relationship problems and impact your self-confidence. 2

What can you do to keep your vagina healthy?

1. Go for whole body health.

Eat right, control your weight and exercise, it’s good for your sexual organs and overall health.3

2. Get vaccinated.

Vaccinations can protect you from HPV, the virus associated with cervical cancer. 2

3. Practice safe sex.

One of the best and easiest things you can do for vaginal health is practice safer sex. 4

    • Use protection
    • Get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections
    • If you make sure of a condom, make sure you know the condom ingredients

4. Wear breathable underwear.

When you’re choosing underwear, style shouldn’t be your only concern. One of the worst environments for your lady parts is a place that’s constantly moist. If your underwear never has a chance to dry, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. 4

5. Avoid perfumes, deodorants and powder in the vagina.

A majority of odor is not from the vagina, it is rather from the inner thighs and folds. Patting on talcum powder (or any vaginal powder, including some baby powders, that list talc among their ingredients) to feel fresher isn’t just a harmless hygiene measure, the powder may spread to the genital tract and create an inflammatory reaction. 1,5

6. Don’t douche.

Many women may not realise that the vagina has a very acidic environment, which naturally protects against bacteria. Douching, chemicals and antibacterial soaps disrupt the delicate balance in your vagina and can allow the growth of bacteria and yeast. 4,5 Your vagina is self-cleaning, it keeps the balance of good bacteria and maintains healthy pH levels without any help. Gentle washing with mild soaps and warm, not too hot, water is all that is needed. 6

7. To shave or not to shave

It’s okay to do a bit of trimming or removing hair along your swimsuit line. However, pubic hair serves many purposes. It protects your vagina from extra bacteria, and it also eliminates issues related to friction and sweating. Less hair removal also means less itch as the hair grows back, fewer cuts and scrapes, and fewer ingrown hairs. Use a natural shaving gel or cream when you do shave.4

8. Lubrication

Make sure you know what the ingredients of a lubricant is before you use it. Some ingredients like glycerin (related to sugar) can contribute to bacterial growth in your vagina. Petroleum products are also a no because they can ruin the vagina’s natural pH level. 4

While not all vaginal problems can be prevented, regular checkups can help ensure that problems affecting your vagina are diagnosed as soon as possible. Don’t let embarrassment prevent you from talking to your doctor about any concerns you might have about your vaginal health. 2

DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Name and business address of the holder of the certificate of registration: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd,. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07, 15e Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. For further information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. IN3195/19


  1. Everyday Health. 9 New Rules for a Healthy Vagina. [online] [cited March 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health-pictures/9-surprising-vaginal-health-mistakes.aspx#9-new-rules-for-a-healthy-vagina
  2. Mayo Clinic. Vagina: What’s normal, what’s not. [online] March 2018 [cited March 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/vagina/art-20046562
  3. Cleveland Clinic. 9 Tips to Keep Your Vagina Happy + Healthy. [online] May 2018 [cited March 2019; Available from URL: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-keep-your-vagina-happy-healthy/
  4. From Pubes to Lubes: 8 Ways to Keep Your Vagina Happy. [online] April 2017 [cited March 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/8-vagina-health-tips#14
  5. Mayo Clinic. Health System. You don’t need fancy products for good feminine hygiene. [online] November 2016 [cited March 2019]: Available from URL: https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/you-dont-need-fancy-products-for-good-feminine-hygiene
  6. Cleveland State University. Feminine Hygiene. [online] [cited March 2019]: Available from URL: https://www.csuohio.edu/health/feminine-hygiene