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Feminine hygiene glossary

Confused about the terms used in feminine hygiene products? Wondering what BV and pH are? We’ve created a handy glossary of some of the common terms in the industry to help you navigate your way to better feminine care.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV):  A common vaginal infection, bacterial vaginosis occurs when normal bacteria in the vagina is seriously imbalanced. This can happen from douching or sexual activity. Symptoms may include odorous discharge, burning when urinating, and itching around the vulva.


Cervix: The lower, narrow part of the uterus. The cervix forms a canal from the vagina to the outside of the body.


Feminine deodorant: A type of feminine hygiene product that helps mitigate vaginal odors.


Feminine hygiene / Feminine care / Feminine wellness / Vaginal care: Feminine care, vaginal care, feminine wellness, and feminine hygiene can be used interchangeably and represents a subset of women’s health that involves taking care of your area down there. This is an umbrella category that includes using products like tampons, washes, toners, wipes, and more.


Feminine hygiene lotion: A type of feminine hygiene product that moisturizes and hydrates the skin outside of the vagina.


Feminine hygiene products / Menstrual hygiene products: Personal care products used by women during menstruation, vaginal discharge, and other bodily functions related to the vulva and vagina.


Feminine hygiene spray: A feminine hygiene product that helps tone and pH balance the skin outside of the vagina.


Feminine skin care: Feminine skin care is part of feminine hygiene but is specifically for taking care of the skin outside your vagina


Feminine wash: A feminine hygiene product that cleanses the skin outside of your vagina.


Feminine wipes: Antibacterial cloths for wiping the skin outside of your vagina after exercising, sexual activity, or any vaginal discharge.


Vagina: The muscular canal that extends from the uterus and cervix to the outside of the body. Vagina walls are lined with mucous membranes and tiny glands responsible for vaginal discharges.


Vaginal discharge: Fluid and old cells that your body is naturally getting rid of by way of your vagina. Regular discharge is normal but if there is excess discharge or a very strong smell, it could be an indication of a more serious problem.


Vaginal douching: Where feminine hygiene products are for external use, douching is strictly for internal. It involves washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other cleaning fluids. Douching can lead to health problems such as problems getting pregnant, vaginal infections, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


Vaginal dryness: Dryness happens when the tissues inside the vagina aren’t healthy or well-lubricated. It can cause discomfort and lead to infection.


Vaginal health: Refers to the health of your vagina. Vaginal health issues include infections, inflammation, dryness, and abnormal discharge.


Vaginal infection / Vaginal itching / Vaginitis: Multiple conditions may cause infection or itching of the vagina. Symptoms may include burning, odor, swelling, redness, or discharge.


Vaginal odor / Feminine odor: Any odor that comes from the vagina. It’s perfectly normal for your vagina to have a slight smell. But a very distinct or “fishy” vaginal odor could be a sign of a more serious problem such as an infection.


Vaginal pH: Vaginal pH refers to the acidity level of your vagina. A well-balanced pH level helps prevent vaginal infection and irritation. A healthy vaginal pH is between 3.8 and 4.5.


Vaginal toner: A feminine hygiene product that helps hydrate and pH balance the skin outside your vagina.


Vulva: The external area around your vagina.


Yeast infection: A common infection caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. It’s normal to have some yeast in your vagina, but too much will lead to an infection. The excess yeast may be caused by hormonal imbalances during pregnancy or from medication like antibiotics. Symptoms include itching, burning, pain when urinating or during sexual activity, and abnormal vaginal discharge.