Discussing proper hygiene

What women should know about good intimacy care

"My husband has recently availed himself of the little blue pill and clearly has had a sexual reawakening. I am postmenopausal and suffer from vaginal dryness. Our amorous encounters are very uncomfortable to me. I’ve tried a couple of lubes. One was so slippery and messy, I couldn’t stand it. The other I’ve tried had a pleasant scent but it actually caused a vaginal infection. I could use some help."

Some women may have misconceptions about proper hygiene and care of the intimate area. It is not coincidental that many women call the private area “down there” because they are embarrassed to use the proper names for the vagina, pubis, clitoris etc.


Improper use of products can cause problems


More worrisome is their hesitance to deal with intimate issues such as painful sexuality, proper vaginal cleansing, and vaginal conditions from dryness to irritation or infection. This can lead to further physical problems and also may interfere with relationships.

READ MORE: 10 tips for sex after pregnancy

The third-largest reason for women to visit the doctor, after the flu and common cold, is for vaginal problems. Over thirty percent of such visits are due to the use of improper products and/ or improper care of the vaginal area. The fact that many women avoid seeing a medical professional when they first detect a vaginal condition such as a yeast infection can have serious health consequences. There are many strains of the yeast fungus. Not all of them can be treated effectively by the most common over-the-counter yeast remedies. Sometimes these well-known yeast remedies can stop the symptoms such as itching and discharge, but they don’t eliminate the infection, resulting in the possibility of more serious problems.

According to statistics, forty-three percent of women suffer from vaginal dryness, one reason why women use a lubricant or intimate moisturizer before and during sexual activity. What they may not know is that the lubricant may not be FDA-approved for intra-vaginal use, i.e. in the vaginal canal. There are two classes of lubricants and moisturizers, both available without a prescription. They appear to be the same, but they are not. Many common lubricants are classified as cosmetics. These are not approved by the FDA for use inside the vagina.

The others are medical-grade lubricants and moisturizers, and these are FDA-approved for intra-vaginal use. They have been tested for safety by the FDA and are classified as medical device products. Cosmetic lubes that are not approved for use inside the vagina may not be effective. Some might even represent a health risk.


Douching is not advised


To eliminate the potential discomfort or pain of vaginal dryness the product must be applied between the vaginal lips and inside the vaginal canal. Two safe choices that are FDA-approved are KY® lubricating Jelly and Very Private® Intimate Moisture. Very Private also received the OB/gyn.net “Seal of Approval” for safety and efficacy.

For daily vaginal hygiene, most gynecologists advise against douching. They advise against scented washes, soaps or bubble baths containing unnecessary additives such as flavors or plant extracts that may disturb the delicate vaginal environment. Recommended are pH balanced soaps or cleansers such as the Very Private Body Wash. Many women spend a lot of time and money preserving their beauty. A little intimacy care and knowledge may well make their intimate lives more satisfying.