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Vaginal health is an important part of a woman’s overall health. Vaginal problems can affect your fertility, desire for sex and ability to reach orgasm. Ongoing vaginal health issues can also cause stress or relationship problems and impact your self-confidence. So, here are some tips so that you can take care of your vagina and nurture it in a healthier way:

  1. Wear cotton underwear: When it comes to your underwear selection, your vagina has a preference: cotton. That’s why most undies come with a strip of cotton in the crotch. It’s all about that breathability—cotton lets air in and absorbs moisture.
  1. Try to be a little more careful during cycling: An unexpected place you might be putting your vaginal health at risk is the cycling studio. If you’re a frequent rider, you could be at risk for genital numbness, pain, and tingling (not in a good way) while cycling.In fact, a study of female cyclists in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that a majority experienced these symptoms. If you love to hit up cycling, try wearing padded shorts to keep your vagina pain-free during your workout.
  1. Never use soap on your vulva or vagina: Soap is the enemy. When it comes to soap, it shouldn’t be anywhere near your vulva, let alone up inside your vagina. The vagina is self-cleaning. It doesn’t need to be soaped. Rinse the entire vulva with warm water and you should be good to go. Remember, it’s a vagina. It smells like a vagina. If it smelled like a rose, it would be a rose. OK?
  1. Don’t overuse antibiotics: Unnecessary antibiotic use can significantly reduce vaginal health. That’s because antibiotics don’t discriminate—they kill off both good and bacteria, which can then change the flora (i.e., the colony of healthy bacteria) in your vagina, causing yeast and other infections to grow. Obviously, if you have to take an antibiotic to fight infection, you shouldn’t pass up the prescription—just make sure it’s totally necessary before you start that course.
  1. Do your kegel exercises: Doing kegels helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, , which then helps reduce strain on your pelvic organs, and improves bladder and bowel function. Oh, and they can make your orgasms stronger too, doing three sets of 10 kegels each day, holding each kegel for five seconds. That’s just three minutes of kegel work—totally doable.
  2. Skip the scented soaps: Scented body wash may be awesome, but it doesn’t belong anywhere near your genitals. That’s because, unlike your skin, your vagina doesn’t have an extra protective layer—which means soap and other chemicals can be really drying to that sensitive skin .You really only need to rinse with warm water to keep things clean down there. But if you just don’t feel right about going soap-free, stick with a plain, gentle, unscented soap.
  1. Pee after sex: Always, always, always pee after sex. When you have penetrative intercourse, bacteria can build up in your urethra. Your vaginal canal and urethra are very close together. Once you’re finished having sex, go pee to clear out any lingering bacteria. You don’t want to wind up with a UTI. That is not fun for anyone. You don’t have to run to the bathroom the minute you’re finished getting down. You can snuggle for a bit. Just be sure you do so within the hour.

Last but not the least, Be nice to yourself and your vulva.This is the most froo-froo of them all, but it is VERY important. Your vulva is very aware of your mood. Many valvular disorders such as vaginismus and vulvodynia are believed to be rooted in the psychological. Trauma, shame, and self-effacement can contribute to pain during sex, a lack of orgasm, and lower self-esteem.

Be kind to your vulva. Take a hand mirror and check her out in all her glory. She’s unique and perfect just like you. All confidence is rooted in the body. Take some time to connect with your vulva rather than expending energy to change it.