Intimate hygiene and vaginal infections

Most women know how to take care of their intimate area. “The vagina cleanses itself”, “don’t wash your vagina with soap”, “wear cotton underwear” and “always wipe from the front to the back”. Taking proper care of your intimate area could prevent discomforts, or so is believed. However, is this really the case?

The cause of infections and discomforts

The two most common vaginal infections are bacterial vaginosis and a yeast infection (also known as candida or thrush). If you experience vaginal discomforts, usually either one of them is the cause.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your vagina. Symptoms of this infection are a strong (fish-like) odor and thin grayish white discharge. A yeast infection on the other hand is caused by an overgrowth of yeast cells in your vagina or your external intimate area. A thick, white discharge (like cottage cheese) and itch are the most common symptoms.

Both infections are fairly harmless, but can be rather uncomfortable. The symptoms will eventually fade away, however this may take some time. Fortunately, both infections can be treated by medication or selfcare products. More information on treating vaginal infections can be found here.


"The two most common vaginal infections are bacterial vaginosis and a yeast infection (also known as candida or thrush). If you experience vaginal discomforts, usually either one of them is the cause"


How intimate hygiene can help

Even though it is not clear what exactly causes an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in your vagina, there are some factors that might influence the chance of developing it. Intimate hygiene is believed to be one of them. Here are some tips on intimate hygiene:
  • If you would like to clean your external intimate area, warm water is enough. For a fresh feeling you could use a mild intimate wash, for example one with natural ingredients
  • Make sure that you always dry your intimate area after showering, bathing or swimming
  • Wear cotton underwear and avoid wearing thongs
  • Try not to scratch if you have an itch

Does intimate hygiene prevent vaginal infections?

Some women benefit from correct intimate hygiene, but others will still develop an infection. Improper vaginal hygiene can increase the risk for vaginal discomforts, but correct vaginal hygiene unfortunately will not prevent all problems as most vaginal infections are caused by factors not related to hygiene.