Many people feel paranoid about how they smell “down there” — you are not alone! The truth is, every person with a vagina has their own signature scent, and if you have a sexual partner, your partner probably doesn’t mind it a bit. At the same time, if you’re feeling a little insecure, then it won’t hurt to make sure that you’re covering all of the bases when you wash your vaginal area. You deserve to feel clean and confident.
WEAR COTTON UNDERWEAR OR GO COMMANDO
When it comes to your underwear selection, your vagina has a preference: cotton. That’s why most underwear comes with a thin strip of cotton fabric in the crotch. Since it breathes and absorbs moisture, it’s the ideal way to clothe your lady parts, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University. And when you’re laying around the house, feel free to go commando so you can let things air out, says Minkin. Just don’t go to the gym sans undies, because you’ll want that extra layer between you and germy gym equipment.
EMBRACE GREEK YOGURT
Snacking on yogurt with live cultures helps boost the good bacteria in your hoo-ha, which, as you know, is all around fantastic for preventing annoying vaginal problems like yeast infections, says Minkin. Just be careful that you’re not noshing on the super-sugary kind, because that could make you more susceptible to those infections.
ALWAYS GO TO YOUR ANNUAL EXAM
Although new guidelines advise against annual pelvic exams if you’re symptom-free and not pregnant, a visit to your doctor isn’t just about poking around your lady parts, says Minkin. “I think an annual exam is important for talking about health problems,” she says. Using this time to chat about using condoms, fertility, and any random sex questions you might have is just as important as checking for STDs. So before you switch up your doctor visits, have a conversation about it with him or her first.
Sometimes when you’re about to hit the sheets, it seems like your vagina just didn’t get the memo. But it’s totally normal—vaginal dryness can impact you if you take certain medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, or hormonal birth control. It can also crop up after pregnancy or shortly before menopause. When this happens, make sure you’re communicating with your partner so they don’t forge ahead before you’re properly lubricated, which is obviously painful and can cause abrasions. Or just use lube to speed up the process and make sex even hotter, says Minkin.
APPROACH ANTIBIOTICS WITH CAUTION
Another threat to your nether region’s good bacteria are antibiotics. Those pills can kill off some of that wonderful lactobacilli that keep your vagina healthy, says Minkin. Obviously, if you have to take an antibiotic to fight infection, you shouldn’t pass up the prescription, just load up on probiotic Greek yogurt to reduce the damage, she says.