Things You're Doing That You Don't Even Know Are Hurting Your Vagina

by Emily Arata
Painted Wood

Forget diamonds, handbags and fuzzy pets: a girl's real best friend is her vagina.

Through condoms and dental dams, it's the organ that helps define who you are as a person and guide your life choices.

It's also been the subject of much debate and drama amongst your closest girlfriends.

But, we all get lazy and neglect what's dearest to us. Sometimes, we skip bikini waxes for months at a time before ripping it all out and starting over.

We're all guilty of spending a few days without a shower and relying on a scented wipe instead of actual soap.

Most of the time, these indiscretions are minor and don't affect your vagina's health.

However, there are common habits that could lead to problems like yeast infections and ingrown hairs, necessitating a visit to the gynecologist you'd rather avoid.

Here are some common mistakes that might be harming your hoo-ha.

Mistake: You want to wake up and smell your vagina's roses.

The biggest myth about vaginas is that their smell is inherently unacceptable.

But before you go running for the Summer's Eve, think again. Unless something's seriously wrong with your reproductive system, any natural odor given off is totally normal.

Vaginas do not need to smell like potpourri or a prom corsage, and shouldn't be treated as if they're something to be fixed.

That means swearing off douches or specialty cleansers – anything that could throw off the organ's pH balance and cause a yeast infection.

The US Department of Health and Human Services found women who douched weekly were five times more likely to find themselves with Bacterial vaginosis.

Mistake: Stretch is good for jeans, bad for your vagine.

Like your relationship philosophy, vaginas prefer being able to breathe over being stifled.

Although cheap underwear may come in convenient, value sized packs or bear the images of miniature food (who can resist donut underwear, honestly?), they're not often made of the highest quality fabrics.

Instead of trapping natural excretions against your vagina (help!), trade in those trashy pairs for a new cotton set.

The natural fibers will keep UTIs and yeast infections at bay, creating a healthy environment for your most sensitive body part.

Mistake: It's the bad kind of wet down there.

We all can agree that lounging poolside is the best place to be, especially in the sun.

It's not only the tan and the warmth that's high-priority, but also the sun-rays that dry out your soaked swimsuit fabric.

Hours spent in wet bikini bottoms stifle the vagina, keeping moisture inside and providing the perfect conditions for bacteria to breed instead of letting the area naturally regulate itself.

The same idea applies to sweaty gym clothes, which keep moisture inside the vagina.

You know the mildew that grows on your constantly-wet shower curtain?

Remember that the next time you think of keeping that damp swimsuit on.

Mistake: Staying away from the gooey white stuff.

Yogurt isn't just the subject of vaguely hilarious commercials.

The thick white stuff is also chock full of live cultures like Lactobacillus that make a home regulating your digestive system. In fact, you can even brew yogurt from samples of your healthy vaginal bacteria.

A new flavor of hot pocket.

A regular diet of probiotics like yogurt and kefir means a bacteria ecosystem that's always being replenished with fresh additions. No infections here, just some new recipes.

Mistake: That was way harsh (detergent), Tai.

If you've been feeling uncomfortable downstairs, it's not necessarily your body that's to blame.

The vagina is sensitive to change, and a heavily scented detergent may have chemicals that irritate the genital area needlessly.

To avoid this common goof, invest in a laundry detergent that's free of fragrance or made for sensitive skin.

The same idea applies to scented lotions and soaps, if you're curious.