How to choose the cleanser for intimate hygiene?  The gynecologist answers - iO Donna

Lintimate hygiene is a very important aspect for both men and women and represents the first tool for protection against infections. It allows us, through the use of chemical or natural active ingredients, to carry out a disinfectant action. Furthermore, thanks to specific formulations respects the vaginal systema real defense shield from external and internal agents.

The vaginal microbiome is an ecosystem

In recent years, many studies have made us understand that the vaginal ecosystem (better called microbiome) is actually much more complex than we imagined. Changes in life, conditioned by factors such as age and hormonal status, sexual activity, pregnancy, systemic diseases and drugs taken.

So it is very important to take these considerations into account when choosing the cleaner as well.

Menstruation and cups: the 10 myths about the cycle

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How to choose the right cleaner

Doctor Raffaela Di Pace, gynecologist

Doctor Raffaela Di Pace, gynecologist

In fact, too many times, the products come chosen on the basis of pleasantness criteria such as formulation or fragrance, price or advertising.

It should also be emphasized that the offer between online sales, supermarkets, pharmacies and parapharmacies is so vast that it is not always easy to find your way around. What to consider then to choose the right one and adopt a sort of beauty routine also for the private parts?

Intimate hygiene in pregnancy

At birth the vagina of newborns is colonized by the bacterial species of the mother and this state is maintained for a few days if the birth takes place vaginally.

This is why it is very important create the right ecosystem in pregnancy.

After a few days, however, the fall in the hormonal levels acquired by the mother causes a thinning of the vaginal mucosa with a lower production of glycogen, an increased pH and a modification of the microbiome species, the same that are found in menopause, when estrogen levels again they go down considerably.

The first menstruation

With the arrival of the first menstruation, the consequent estrogenization leads to an increase in the glycogen producedone Ph reduction it’s a species change of the microbiome with selection of those anaerobics that also allow us to better defend ourselves from sexually transmitted infections.

Precisely for this reason in childhood and early adolescence, before menarche, it is better choose extremely delicate products with pH that is not too acidic (at least 5-5.5) that allow us to respect the delicate vaginal balance. The use of too aggressive products can sometimes cause burning or discomfort on contact.

How to wash properly

Also, this is the right time to teach girls to wash properly, without getting scared or ashamed. The direction of washing must be from the front towards the anus and never the other way around, so as not to carry any germs from the anus to the vulva. The vulva is part of our body and for this reason we must learn to treat it as such.

It is also useful to simply know how to wash because sometimes, out of haste and habit, we don’t pay enough attention.

Meanwhile do not overdo it with detergents, a more thorough cleaning must be done at most 1-2 times a dayif we want to wash more often it is better to use only water.

Also pay attention to the use of intimate wipes which must be limited to use away from home and in particular situations.

The choice of the water temperaturebut instead always remember that even in the shower or while bathing the genitals must be washed with the specific detergent and not with the bubble bath. Then always use a personal towel.

Intimate hygiene in childbearing age

With the beginning of the cycle and the consequent estrogenization, the PH of the vagina is considerably lowered and therefore it is necessary to choose a cleaner with a lower pH (4-4.5)

In this phase we can use products that exert a greater cleansing, also through the use of soaps, especially during the menstrual cycle and in conditions of greater risk of infections such as sexual or sporting activity.

Personal care

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After menopause

After the menopause, on the other hand, the consequent raising the pH requires the use of particularly delicate detergents with a pH of at least 5.

Usually at this stage it is best to use cream or oil formulations which are much more respectful of sensitivity, even of the vulvar skin, which however becomes more delicate, especially in the case of vulvovaginal atrophy.

Male hygiene

No less important is male intimate hygiene, even if the man’s genitals are less delicate as they are practically covered only with skin and not with mucous membranes. Furthermore, the choice of products on the market is certainly less. To avoid sensitization or allergies, the advice is to choose products not particularly rich in foam, free from parabens and preservatives.

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Only in case of male or female infections choose detergents with a more marked antibacterial or antifungal action.

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