Vaginal self-cleansing: all you need to know

The vagina is probably the most efficient organs of the female body but sadly, it is so misunderstood. Like sex, talking about the vagina is also a taboo.  Here, we clarify some concepts about keeping your vagina clean, and its self-cleansing properties.

How does the vagina self-cleanse?

One of the most magical things about the vagina is that it self-cleans. Glands in the vagina produce fluid that flows out daily to help get rid of dead cells and other potentially infectious bacteria. The folds of the vagina also protect against infection, by sticking together to keep as much pollutants on the outside as possible. The skin of the vaginal folds also has glands that produce fluid, called sebum, for added protection against infection, and even for waterproofing.

The vagina should not be washed with soap or any other disinfectants as the naturally self-sustaining properties can get washed away. 

How can you keep your vagina clean? 

Dead skin cells, oil and germs can build up between your clitoris and your clitoral hood, as well as inside your vagina. So it is important to lift your hood up and rinse thoroughly so it doesn’t harden and cause infections or diseases.

  • Soaps and conditioners are a big NO. They remove lactobacilli (good bacteria) and the natural necessary lubricants that protect the vagina. They may also cause irritation, inflammation, major discomfort and dryness. 

  • Always wipe from front to back. Bacteria are found in both, vagina and rectum and one doesn’t want the two to “mingle” as it can cause serious problems. Same is the case when having intercourse or foreplay (don’t forget to swap condoms or sex toys)

  • Have a good, well-balanced diet as it can directly affect your vaginal health.

  • Avoid tight and wet underpants. Bacteria from the outside like clamp, warm and moist areas can be causes for irritation and infection.

  • Regularly change pads or tampons to avoid festering bacteria on sodden pads.

  • Use the washcloths and towels you use to clean and dry your vagina on a rotation basis, because germs might accumulate there, that can have undesirable effects.


Self-cleansing and sex:

During intercourse, penetration allows some parts of the anal bacteria to get closer to the urethra. Women have short urethras compared to men, so it's easy for these bacteria (once inside) to make their way to the bladder, where they can multiply, damage tissues, and cause inflammation. This is known as a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), which can be painful and require antibiotics. 

WHL Tip: Urinating right after sex helps prevent the spread of fecal bacteria to the bladder and in turn control UTIs. It is also advisable that partners don’t immediately switch from anal to vaginal sex, or use the same condoms or sex toys for both areas.

About the Author

WHL Staff

The WHL staff comprises a group of ladies out to give you exhaustive, practical health tips and resources.