7 common feminine hygiene myths debunked- MP Edition 026
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about feminine hygiene, and we know it can be hard to navigate the sometimes confusing landscape so we thought we’d round up some of the most common misconceptions about feminine hygiene that we’ve heard and debunk the myths.
Read on to find out the truth about these 7 feminine hygiene myths.
Myth #1: You need to clean your vagina with a douche
Douching involves using high-pressure water or mixes of water, vinegar, and often antiseptics and fragrances to cleanse the inside of your vagina. Let us clear one thing up right now: your vagina does not need cleaning. The vagina is magically self-cleaning, meaning it don’t need no help from anybody. The outside of your vagina, on the other hand, is another issue, but inside your vagina, is all good.
Your vagina is a delicate balance of both good and bad bacteria. You’d think that douching would kill the bad bacteria but the high pressure has the potential to wash out the good bacteria too. And without good bacteria there to keep the peace, bad bacteria will run rampant and cause a pH imbalance which can lead to infections.
Not only does your vagina not need cleaning, but douching may also lead to infections because the high-pressure liquid can push bacteria into your cervix.
Myth #2: You only need water to wash your muff
This is hands down, one of the most common myths that we have heard. While using just water certainly doesn’t hurt and it works wonders when you’re in a pinch and don’t have easy access to a shower or wipes, using just water will not give you the most effective clean.
We mentioned that your vagina is self-cleaning. It does this by way of vaginal discharge. The slightly acidic and perfectly pH-balanced environment of your vagina takes care of bad bacteria and odors by expelling them as vaginal discharge, which is why your vagina doesn’t need cleaning but your muff (vulva) does.
Using just water just doesn’t give you a deep enough clean to wash away the bacteria and discharge on the outside of your vaginal. In addition, using a gentle feminine wash will not only keep your muff clean, but hydrated as well.
Myth #3: Your vagina should not smell at all
Years of male-dominated feminine hygiene marketing has led to the widespread thinking that vaginas and muffs shouldn’t smell. The truth of the matter is that it’s perfectly natural and healthy for your vagina to have a slight odor, and everyone’s smell is distinct to them.
As mentioned, there is a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria within the vagina that plays an important role in keeping your area down there healthy. Why your vagina has a natural scent is because, not unlike your gut, the vagina contains good bacteria and yeast, which are healthy but does come with a slight smell.
So smell is natural but if you find that your area down there is smelling more than usual or the smell is a bit off, please consult your doctor as it may indicate something worse like a BV (bacterial vaginosis) or a forgotten tampon.
Myth #4: Scented feminine hygiene products cover up odors
Antiquated feminine hygiene marketing has also proliferated the idea that scented sprays are the solution to feminine odors. However, those products only mask the odor and any underlying problems. Scented feminine hygiene products and soaps are often artificially scented and contain chemicals that can irritate your sensitive skin even further.
What is most effective at keeping abnormal odors at bay is to eat healthily and keep up with a daily feminine hygiene routine. Look for a feminine hygiene product that is scented naturally. A lot of the natural ingredients that are used in gentle yet effective feminine hygiene products also smell amazing, like aloe vera and rose.
Myth #5: Silk and fancy underwear is good for your hoo-ha
While it may look and feel nice, underwear made of silk or lace can actually be bad for your vaginal health because those fabrics are not very breathable. Synthetic materials can trap moisture which often leads to yeast infections.
The best breathable material for your muff is cotton underwear. They also help soak up excess moisture better than any other material.
For the same reason, it's important to remove wet bathing suits and sweaty workout clothes as soon as possible to avoid trapping moisture which leads to discomfort and infections.
Myth #6: Your muff needs vaginal steaming
I think we all remember when Gwenyth Paltrow's Goop popularized vaginal steaming, which involved squatting above steaming hot water to cleanse the vagina and promote energy release.
As with many passing fads, there is little science to back up the vaginal steaming trend . In fact, steaming your vagina could potentially lead to burns if the steam is too hot, as well as infections as bad bacteria thrive in moist, warm environments.
Myth 7: Vaginal discharge means a yeast infection
Vaginal discharge is perfectly normal. Like we mentioned before, discharge is how the vagina expels the bad bacteria and keeps itself clean and happy. While abnormal vaginal discharge can indicate a yeast infection, it does not always mean that. The color, amount, and smell of vaginal discharge can vary on so many reasons, such as where you are in your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, the foods you’re consuming, sexual activity, and whether you’re on birth control.
But it’s important to note that if your discharge is smelling stronger than usual or smells off, and you notice other symptoms like itchiness or pain, you should consult your doctor as it may indicate something more serious.