We talked before about vaginal health and care before and after puberty; what to avoid and how to care for your vagina properly. Now, it's time to talk about what to not to do after sex and how to take care of your vagina with a sex life. Check out these vaginal and female hygiene tips to keep in mind.
After Sex: What to Avoid Doing and Using on Your Vagina
Forgetting to clean up after sex
Cleaning the vagina gently after sex is crucial especially to avoid and prevent UTI's or urinary tract infections. You might have heard of people recommending peeing right after sex. Why? Well essentially to empty the bladder, because sex can give a chance for bacteria to enter the urethra. Peeing helps rid you of the bacteria that could be around the urethra after sex.
Not drinking water
Sex is a heavy physical exercise so the body needs to be well hydrated. For your vagina, drinking water before, during and after sex will help you find it easier to pee after sex, especially because some girls and women find it hard to pee after sex or after the vulva has been stimulated.
Using any kind of lube you find
Random lubes found in stores and pharmacies can actually be extremely dangerous and toxic, with short and long term effects on your health. It is important to avoid buying lubes with any of the following ingredients: glycerin, parabens, sugars, chlorhexidine gluconate, cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, undisclosed flavors or fragrance and anything gimmicky like with colors, sensations and features.
This information is deducted from research that has shown ingredients in lube to be toxic. Short term effects can also include bacterial and yeast infections. Make sure you go for something trusted, unscented and simple. Read the ingredient list to make sure it doesn't have any of the above. Also check the PH level, it should be 4.5, as recommended by the WHO, and the osmolality should be below 1200 mOsm/kg. Here's a table of some brands you could be familiar with, along with their PH and osmolality levels.
Also Allure have a list of lubes they recommend for being safer...
Ignoring check ups and pain
A lot of women ignore pain or anything unusual that could be happening with their vaginas after sex or just regularly. If you feel unfamiliar pain, see bleeding or even weird discharge, you should always check up immediately to make sure everything's okay. Even if you're not sexually active, a regular visit to a gynecologist is a must for PAP tests and other exams. They could help you deal with infections, early signs of diseases, as well as having a perfectly healthy sex life.
Not changing your sheets after sex
Of course ideally you could change the sheets every time after sex, but if this is not possible or hard to keep up with, you still must remember to change your sheets once a week. Why? Because they get in contact with semen, body fluids and sweat which can lead too irritation and might even cause infections. If the sheets got really stained after sex, then you should change them right away. You can also get a mattress protector. Fluids can leak through to the mattress so adding that extra layer can help prevent that.
Douching & Scented products
Of course we don't have to stress on the importance of not using any fragrance near the vagina. Even your pads and tampons should not be scented at all. Your vagina is self cleaning, it is enough to cleanse it with water after sex. Also douching can be very problematic and can even cause infections and problems with pregnancy. Gently rinse with water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Tight underwear after sex
After sex, your vagina needs to rest and breathe without being suffocated by tight clothes or undies. You can either stay without any underwear on after washing up or wear comfortable loose cotton undies to avoid any excess moisture from causing an infection.
No we're not saying you should avoid condoms. However, there is something you should know about condoms. Some people are allergic to latex and most condoms are latex. So it is something you should know with your doctor before exposing your vagina to latex condoms so they don't irritate you. There are alternatives to latex condoms, however, they are more likely to break or slip, so that's a risk to keep in mind.