Vulva Care: 7 Vaginal Health Tips Every Woman Should Know

If you’ve ever felt a burning sensation and ran panicking to your gyno, you’re not alone. A lack of education about sexual anatomy, especially in women or people with vulvas and vaginas, means there’s a lot of fear and misinformation about vulvovaginal health.

Types of vulva graphic

Vulvas and vaginas require less care than we think. It’s surprisingly easy to keep your private parts happy and healthy (did you know they’re built to self-clean?), and most common vulvovagina problems aren’t serious and go away on their own. Though, of course, a trip to the doctor is always safer than the advice of a search engine.

Nonetheless, having a happy and healthy vulvovagina is crucial for overall well-being, a healthy sex life, and looking after the body’s natural processes, like menstruation and reproduction.

Before we dive into our essential vulvovaginal health tips, let’s clear something up.

Vulva vs Vagina

No, the vulva and vagina are not the same thing! These terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different anatomical parts.

The vagina is the internal canal that begins with the vaginal opening (where you insert a tampon, finger, penis, or toy…) and goes to the cervix, and from there, the uterus.

The vulva is the external part of the female genitals, consisting of the labia majora (outer fold or lips), labia minora (inner fold or lips), urethra, clitoris, and mons pubic. The labia help protect the highly sensitive clitoris, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Woman holding papaya in front of hips crotch

How to Have a Happy Vagina? 7 Essential Vulvovaginal Health Tips

1. Don’t use special scrubs, fancy soaps, or douche

For proper vulvovaginal cleaning, you don’t need to douche, use special soaps or wipes, scrub, or apply anything scented. Washing your vulva with water and your fingers is enough.

In fact, douching and many of these chemical products upset the vagina’s healthy bacteria and pH balance.

If you desire, you can use a non-scented, natural soap around your vulva, but it’s not necessary.

Beauty industries have tried to tell us that our natural scent is bad to make us buy unnecessary products. It’s not supposed to smell like a rose garden down there. It’s going to smell like what it is - a vulva. A scent that vabbing and other sex-positive movements are starting to celebrate.

The only time you should worry about your scent regarding vulvovaginal care is if it smells noticeably stronger or different than usual, as this could be a sign of a yeast infection or other bacterial imbalance.

Remember that your scent, like your vaginal wetness and discharge levels, changes constantly.

Rose bouquet mirror reflection vuvla concept

2. Be mindful of lube

Lube is a wonderful addition to sex, but you must keep an eye on the ingredient list. Some lubricants aren’t healthy for your intimate area and can encourage bacteria growth or upset your pH level, including glycerin, petroleum, parabens, and any dyes, scents, flavors, and nonnatural oils.

A natural or homemade lube like coconut oil is a good alternative for proper vulvovaginal care.

3. Take precautions when going between anal and vaginal intercourse

Don’t go from anal to vaginal penetration or vice versa without either changing the condom or thoroughly washing the penetrating object (penis, fingers, toy..), despite how tempting it is!

This can carry bacteria from the anus that is harmful to the vagina, leading to irritation or infection. Some vaginal bacteria can irritate the anus, too.

4. Ideally, don’t get rid of every pube

We’re not saying you have to go completely wild unless that’s your style, but leaving some pubic hair is more beneficial to overall vulvovaginal health because this hair is there for a reason.

It protects your sensitive genital area from extra bacteria and problems resulting from sweating and friction from sex or just daily life.

If going bare is best for you, natural, hypoallergenic shaving creams can prevent mishaps and soothe this sensitive area.

Yellow unwrapped condom banana

5. Pee after sex

Really, do it!

Bacteria can get into the urethra during sex. If left there, this can cause a UTI. Urinating or even better, urinating and washing with water, flushes this out.

6. Wear the right underwear - or nothing at all!

Your choice of underwear can make a difference to vulvovaginal health.

Cotton is queen! Better than silk or polyester. Avoid super tight-fitting underwear or pants, change clothes and underwear after a workout, and avoid wearing any underwear at night. These small changes prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria that can lead to irritation or infection.

The same advice goes for wearing swimwear and sanitary items. These should be regularly changed and not left on too long.

7. Get tested

Even if you’re using condoms, which is best if you’re sleeping with multiple partners to avoid STIs and an upset pH balance, you should get regular STI tests as undetected STIs can cause long-term damage.

You should also get into the practice of having regular screenings and checkups at your gynecologist.

Sexual selfcare young woman in bed

Those are our top vulvovaginal health tips. Never forget that if you’re good to your private parts, they’ll be good to you, too.