The vulva is the outside visible portion of the female genitals. It is located outside the vagina. Vulva is responsible for protecting the clitoris, the female pleasure center.
As women age, they go through a lot of hormonal changes that can affect their vulva and vagina. The biggest change being menopause, where their bodies stop making the hormones estrogen and progesterone. All this can lead to vaginal dryness and irritation and infection around the vulva. When vulva health is ignored for too long, it can even lead to vulva cancer.
It is important to maintain a good vulvar health to avoid infections and complications down there:
- Don’t spray: Spraying water can actually make the vulva get rid of the healthy bacteria, making it prone to infections. Vulva is an amazing, self-cleaning organ and it balances healthy bacteria and pH levels on its own. If you must, use a non-scented cleaning agent meant specifically for vaginal cleaning. Always keep the place dry.
- Don’t shave off the pubic hair: Pubic hair serves many purposes: It protects the place from harmful bacteria and eliminates issues related to sweating and friction. Trimming and waxing on the bikini-line is alright, but rock your pubic hair instead of going all bare.
- Use the right lube: Elderly women especially may need to use a lubricant due to vaginal dryness after menopause, during sexual activity. Check the ingredients of the lube. Using glycerin or petroleum jelly will only give rise to bacteria and ruin the pH level of the vagina. Best thing to do is ask your doctor for the correct lube to use.
- Practice safe sex: Infection is possible at any age, and even when you are engaging with only one partner. Use a condom during sex and get regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Relieve yourself after sex: Urinating after sex reduces your chances of contracting UTIs. Make it a habit to always pee and clean yourself after sex.
- Wear clothes that breathe: Your vulva needs as much air as you do. Wearing cotton underwear is your best bet, as it keeps away the sweat and allows moisture to breathe out. Keeping your vulva dry and breezy will reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
- Embrace your birthday suit: Allow your vulva to breathe at night by sleeping without underwear. The cooler temperatures can be great for your vaginal health.
With few simple steps, you can keep the vulva healthy and happy and in turn ensure a better health for yourself.