Genital Hygiene: Do’s and Don’ts
Genital hygiene, both male and female, lives today among medical recommendations and marketing. However, keeping our intimate parts clean and healthy is simpler and required less paraphernalia than you might think.
Both for men and women, the recommendation is to clean the genitals every day, and with this frequency there’s no need to use overly abrasive or perfumed soaps, just soft cleansers that subtly help with hygiene.
Hygiene in men
In the case of men, it’s ideal to clean the penis with warm water. In case you have foreskin, it’s necessary to retract it and wash the base of the gland, where the penile discharge known as smegma usually accumulates. This substance, deposited in the folds of the foreskin not only causes bad odor, but it may also be a medium for fungus and bacteria to thrive.
Additionally, it’s important to wash the pubic area, the testicles and surroundings, since it’s an area where sweat accumulates and may generate foul odor or irritation. For the cleaning routine, it’s not needed to use excessively perfumed soaps. According to specialists, a neutral or mild soap is more than enough.
Hygiene in women
For women, the social pressure to clean the vagina is taken to another level. There are many diverse products in the market, that supposedly keep the area clean. Everything from special soaps (some of them even promise to “reaffirm” or “bleach” the skin in this area) up to perfumed towels or vaginal douches are products that the medical profession rejects.
First, the douches that are inserted in the vagina are completely unnecessary, since the micro-organisms that are present in this organ maintain their own balance and cleanliness. In fact, these products may be harmful by altering this delicate environment.
On the other hand, both special soaps and towels are usually highly perfumed, in an attempt to “mitigate” the natural odor of the vulva (this is how the outer part of the vagina is called). These perfumes may cause irritation in the area and make it more prone to infections.
For women, the same recommendations that apply for men are enough: warm water, mild soap, wash between the vaginal folds and cleanse daily. Although perhaps accept the fact that the vagina has a certain smell, and it would be better to learn to identify when the smell might actually be related to an infection or disease.
At AHF we offer free counseling. If you have any questions on sexuality, hygiene, HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections, we offer free, professional counseling, in a zero-discrimination environment. Make your appointment today.