Earlier this year I had cause (with justification) to tell my husband he had no idea what he was talking about and that for once, he should allow me to control the conversation and make the decision.
You see we were on the way to school and for some reason he was in the car with us. Our older daughter was being particularly niggly and whingey – everything was wrong and nothing was right.
His automatic response was to say that they were ‘doing way too many extra curricular activities, they were just plain tired’ and the solution was to cut back on everything they loved and focus only on school.
Like the Mother Lion that I am, I burst out with a response that reminded him that:
a) both girls had started a brand new school 4 weeks prior so they were adjusting
b) he had never been a girl, never had a sister and had never taken notice of my moods
The clincher was when I pointed out that at 10, she may well be in the early stages of puberty … which shut him up very quickly!
It made me realise that this was probably one of the first conversations only I could have – either on behalf of my daughters or with them.
Sure he may be able to be the one they ask for pocket money or a lift to the mall … but I’m the one they’ll turn to when it comes to their bodies.
I know I’ll buy them their first bra, I’ll supply endless bottles of shampoo and conditioner and I’ll be the one to get them onto a skin care regime.
I’ll certainly be the one adding their pads and tampons to the shopping trolley. On top of all of this though is one area of personal hygiene that I must remember to discuss. Feminine hygiene.
In particular keeping our vaginas happy, healthy and comfortable.
CRINGE? Yes hubby would cringe. Me? Nah.
Our Vagina (Ve-jay-jay, V Spot, Fanny, Vag, down there – or whatever you call it in your home) deserves its own conversation. It’s a part of life. It’s part of our anatomy and it’s got some very important jobs to do on our behalf.
Sadly, feminine hygiene and more particularly the correct care of one of the most delicate parts of our body is often misunderstood and therefore mismanaged. Resulting in all sorts of problems for girls and women of all ages.
So before I have the intimate hygiene conversation with my daughters, I thought it was worth brushing up on the facts.
After checking in with the Vagisil team who’ve been in the feminine hygiene business for over 40 years and know all there is to know about feminine hygiene, I’ve discovered I’m on the right track (phew).
Knowing that, here’s what I’m going to pass on to my daughters:
- SOMETIMES IT’S ITCHY;
As embarrassing as it might seem, sometimes it gets itchy and that’s a fact of life. There are many reasons it could itch such as…menstruation,, perspiration, wearing the wrong type of underwear, using heavily perfumed bodywashes and soaps, some medications , wearing clothing that is too tight and simply stress. So many factors could be at play here, but it’s normal and you can keep on top of it. Using a cream is good, actually it’s a great way to keep on top of things, but remember, should it go on for longer than you expect it or you suspect something more serious like a yeast infection then it’s time to see a healthcare professional!
- COTTON ALL THE WAY;
Always choose full cotton underwear and if this is not as pretty as you’d like, at least look for a cotton gusset amongst the lace. Natural fibre keeps the moisture away from our skin, allowing it to remain drier which reduces the risk of odour and irritation.
Some women also find that lycra, jeans that are tight or include stretch fabric or tights and pantyhose can also cause irritation. Change out of your lycra as soon as possible after you’ve exercised, switch out your skinny jeans for your boyfriend jeans every now and then and think about suspenders or ‘stay up’ stockings if you find the irritation is frequent or severe.
- FRESH IS BEST;
Ensure you cleanse your intimate area in the shower at least once per day with a feminine wash. If you’ve sweated heavily from exercise, shower as soon after as possible after and dry off with a soft, clean towel. Change your towel at least every 3 – 4 days and don’t share towels with anyone else.
Just like our skin, hair and nails, our intimate areas benefit from fresh air so think about going without underwear for bed when possible. This may feel a little weird at first if you haven’t done this from a young age but it’s worth getting used to.
Ensure you wear fresh underwear everyday and when possible, line dry your underwear in the sun. The sun has amazing anti-bacterial properties so whenever possible, use those healing powers to freshen up your underwear and towels.
- FRONT TO BACK;
Whenever you wipe after using the toilet, wipe from front to back (i.e. from vagina back toward your bottom). And ensure you only use each piece of toilet paper once – rewiping can contaminate just as much as wiping the wrong way. Again if you haven’t been taught this from a young age, it will take a little while to change the habit but it really does reduce the risk of contamination.
- SOMETIMES A SHOWER DOESN’T SOLVE THE PROBLEM;
If you’re experiencing odour, itching or an unusual discharge in your vaginal area, it may be more than a shower and a change of underwear can solve.
You could have a yeast infection (what most of us call Thrush) that is quite common and usually easily solved by an over-the-counter treatment from your pharmacy that may be an oral treatment (i.e. a tablet/course of tablets) or a specifically formulated cream. Or you could be suffering from BV (bacterial vaginosis) which is also very common and can cause vaginal odour, discharge, itching and soreness.
If in doubt, the best thing to do is talk to your GP or health professional. Don’t attempt to figure it out yourself; incorrect self diagnosis or continuing to ignore the symptoms can lead to serious complications.
- HANDLE WITH CARE;
Your intimate area is like no other area of your body and requires special care.
The first thing to know is that your vaginal area is the most sensitive, delicate, intimate skin on your body with more sweat glands than anywhere else. It also requires quite a specific pH balance to remain healthy. What a lot of people don’t know is that your period, having sex and menopause can affect the pH levels of intimate areas. Just as attempting to treat any vaginal odour you may have with strong smelling soaps, deodorants or washes can make the problem worse.
Always look for products that are pH balanced and that have been specifically designed for your intimate area. Keep a pH balanced cleansing wash in the shower or your gym bag and pH balanced intimate area cleaning wipes in your handbag for on-the-go freshening.
I guess as a Mum I should also tell my daughters that their intimate area is exactly that; theirs, intimate and ideally not to be shared until they are in a loving and mutually respectful relationship …
But that’s a topic for another post!
Feminine hygiene is a really important part of our overall health. If you have any questions and would like to find out more intimate hygiene, get in touch with the team at Vagisil …
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Have you had the intimate hygiene conversation with your daughter yet?
Jump on below and let us know what you’re thinking …