Female genital hygiene — simplified!

I’m often asked what the best female hygiene products are on the market. My answer —None!

I know TV commercials would have you think otherwise, but the truth is your vagina is a very efficient, self cleaning organ and unless you were directed by your healthcare provider to douche, leave her alone! If you are concerned about a new odor, please see your healthcare provider immediately.

The best way to clean your vulva (labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and the area surrounding the urethra and introitus) is by simply using your hand and warm water. That’s it! The vulvar tissue can be very sensitive and needs to be protected. Do not use soap directly on the vulvar tissue it can lead to dryness, irritation, pain and render your tissue susceptible to infection. Do not scrub the vulva with a washcloth, your hand is sufficient.

When washing the rest of your body, do not use soaps which contain perfumes. These may smell nice but can be irritating, not only to your skin but also to your vulva. These include many baby products and feminine hygiene produces marked “gentle” or “mild”. We recommend: Dove for Sensitive Skin, Neutrogena, Basis, Aveeno, or Pears. A hand-held shower head can be used to better rinse off the area.

If you take baths, use bubble bath products and bath salts sparingly. Very hot baths can over-dry and cause chaffing around the vulva. When drying yourself with a towel, pat dry rather than rubbing with a towel.

I highly recommend purchasing a cheap hand-held mirror so you can periodically look at your vulva. It is common to find residue from soap, toilet paper, medicated creams/ointments, sloughed off skin cells and physiologic vaginal discharge. If left to accumulate, irritation may occur. Using a mirror to look at your vulva every 3-4 months will ensure proper hygiene.

So despite the influx of feminine hygiene products on the market (douches, soaps, wipes, sprays, and “whatever they come up with next” to convince you that you’re not clean enough), leave them on the shelves, your genitals don’t need them. They’d prefer you using your hard earned cash for something useful, like a new vibrator!

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