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The Ultimate Guide to Feminine Hygiene

Feminine hygiene is an all-encompassing description for anything related to the health maintenance and care of the vulva and vagina. It is important to know the difference between these two anatomical parts. The vulva consists of the external genital parts, which are the inner and outer labia, clitoris, urethra, and mons pubis (the rounded mass of fatty tissue over the pubic bones). The vagina is the internal genitalia. The vagina includes the vaginal canal and cervix, which separates the vagina from the uterus.

The mature female reproductive system is marked by the menstrual cycle, which can affect the hygiene routine needed. The entire duration of time between periods, and menstruation (also called the menstrual flow or period) lasts approximately a week out of each menstrual cycle.

As with any other body part, maintaining a healthy hygiene routine is very important. Because the vulva and vagina are in a warm, dark, and moist part of the body, it is normal for this area to have a mild odor and produce some vaginal discharge. Discover our guide on all you need to know about feminine hygiene, including the best feminine hygiene tips and products to incorporate into your feminine care routine.

What is a typical feminine hygiene routine?

A routine is used to maintain cleanliness and health, and feminine care products help make that possible, accessible, and convenient. Many feminine hygiene products are marketed for use during the menstrual period and include tampons, menstrual cups and discs, sanitary pads, and panty liners. Other products for feminine hygiene are used to manage vaginal odor, vaginal dryness, and sexual activity. These products can often be used between periods and during periods and include vagina rinses, wipes, sprays, and vaginal suppositories specially made for sensitive female genitalia.

Diet plays a significant role in vaginal health. Avoid sugary foods and drinks in excess because sugar creates a higher risk for bacteria and yeast to negatively affect the microbiome (the good bacteria that live in the vagina). Taking a probiotic supplement can prove beneficial to supporting your digestive tract, urinary tract, and vaginal microbiome. pH-D has a women’s health probiotic supplement with cranberry extract that can be taken daily to promote digestive, urinary, and vaginal health.

A typical hygiene routine to maintain vaginal health and wellness should include the following:

  • Make yearly appointments with your gynecologist for important preventative healthcare. Find a doctor you feel comfortable seeing and addressing all questions and concerns you have about your reproductive health.
  • Wash the vulvar area daily with warm water and a pH-balanced wash. Heavily scented soaps are not recommended. The vaginal area is naturally slightly acidic, which promotes a proper microbiome balance. Scented and antibacterial soaps or heavily scented solutions and vaginal steaming can disrupt the microbiome and put you at risk for infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast overgrowth.
  • Showers are preferential over baths for vaginal health because bathwater can expose the vaginal tissue to soaps and oils. If you do opt for a bath, rinse the vulvar area thoroughly with fresh, warm water afterward.

pH-D has a selection of pH-balanced boric acid foam washes, including our sensitive feminine wash, that can be used in the shower and are safe for sensitive skin and support your most intimate areas and overall vaginal health.

  • Wearing breathable, comfortably fitting underwear. Plain white cotton underwear is the best option.
  • Underwear should be changed daily and washed in a mild detergent.
  • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom, and do not use the same piece of toilet paper to wipe around the urethra and vagina that you used to wipe around the anus. Keep the urethra and vagina free from fecal matter to avoid vaginal infection.
  • Use water-based lubricants for sexual activity.
  • Urinate after any vaginal sexual activity, as urine cleanses the area around the urethra and vagina.
  • When working out or swimming, change out of sweaty workout clothes or a wet swimsuit as soon as you can. If possible, head over to the shower at the gym or your home and wash off the sweat or pool water residue from your body.

A body spray, foam wash, or body wipe can be beneficial in these situations. Check out pH-D’s boric acid products made with holistic ingredients to help with vaginal odor and improve your vaginal health and feminine hygiene.

  • During menstruation, change the sanitary item you use as directed.
o   Tampons should be changed every 4-8 hours. A tampon should always be removed within eight hours and the minimal absorption for your flow should be used.
o   Menstrual cups or discs can be changed every 4-12 hours and must be thoroughly washed between uses. Some cups and discs are disposable.
o   Sanitary pads and panty liners should be changed every 4-8 hours.
  • Pubic hair: whether you decide to keep it or not, proper grooming is essential. While shaving is not recommended, if you do use a razor to trim the area, use a blade only for the vulva so it doesn’t get dulled from use on other areas of the body. Store the blade in a clean, dry place out of the bath or shower so it doesn’t get mold or rust growth.
    • Shaving pubic hair can result in razor burn and ingrown hair. If a rash or itchy, red bumps appear on the skin, a warm compress can help open the pore and enable the follicle to be freed from underneath the skin. If the rash or bumps have discharge, foul odor, or pain, see a doctor.
  • A diet that supports vaginal health includes a variety of foods or supplements rich in:
    • Antioxidants
    • Vitamins C and E
    • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
    • Protein
    • Probiotics

When should you develop a routine?

If you want to know how to have good feminine hygiene it is important that you develop a routine. Developing a regular feminine hygiene routine is important to begin learning from childhood and throughout adulthood to ensure optimal feminine health and care habits as the body changes.

Changing your routine as you age

It’s important to evaluate and change your feminine hygiene routine through different ages and stages of life. Learning correct ways to care for the urogenital area is a lifelong process that begins with education in early childhood and is built upon with more care techniques and good habits as a girl ages into womanhood.

Girls in early childhood should be taught the basics of staying clean by wiping from front to back after urinating, wearing breathable cotton underwear, and gently cleansing the vulvar area with warm water and a pH-balanced wash in a shower.

Feminine hygiene tips for teenage girls also differ. As the body changes in puberty with physical growth and hormones, adolescent girls need to be aware of how to care for their bodies during menstruation and pubic hair care as it begins to emerge and grow. 

During the years of young to mid-adulthood, personal hygiene needs can change with sexual activity, pregnancy and childbirth, exercise, and dietary habits. Women's probiotics can also play a role in maintaining health during this period.

As the body transitions into menopause, a woman may experience irregular periods and problems with vaginal dryness that could be uncomfortable and troublesome if a good hygiene routine is not used.

Managing our care and hygiene throughout life is nothing to be ashamed of and can be empowering when we consider all that our bodies are capable of doing! Every transition is something to be proud of as our bodies accomplish and achieve so much through any stage of life.

Holistic feminine hygiene care

pH-D Feminine Health offers several feminine care products for vaginal health, including menstrual support. These holistic products can be used with other feminine hygiene and menstrual hygiene products. Our boric acid are the #1 doctor recommended brand available on the market, so be sure to check out our online shop or find our selections at your local store!