Intimate care….. These are the two words that can make a woman go into panic mode at any point. There are plenty of facts about the female body most women are not aware of. In addition, there are hundreds of products available in the market that claim to give women minty fresh vaginas that smell like a bouquet of roses or a basket of newly picked strawberries. But the truth is, vaginal care is not really as complicated as it has been made to sound. So, here's some intimate care 101, so that you don't end up following cleansing rituals that do more harm than any good to your body!

Intimate Care 101

First things first: you need to remember that when we talk about 'vagina', we mean the part that's inside the body, leading up to the uterus. On the outside is your "vulva", which includes the lips or labia, which protect the urinary opening, vestibule, clitoris, and vaginal opening. Now that you know the most basic things about the female anatomy, it's important for you to understand that keeping things clean on the inside is different from cleansing the outside.

Cleansing the Vagina:

An often asked question is : How do you clean the vaginal tube ? Well, you don't clean it. That's right, you are not supposed to be using external agents like soap, body wash, or even the fruity and flowery vaginal care products to clean the inside. No water on the inside, no douching. This is because your vagina is a wonderful machine that's designed to clean itself! A whitish fluid is produced in your body, which gently cleanses the inside and leaves the body. So, the next time you see some discharge, don't be alarmed. Remember that when you put external agents inside the body, it makes your vagina prone to infections and odour. This is because they cause pH imbalance inside, leading to an overgrowth of bacteria and fungus. They can also cause the vagina to become dry, by removing the naturally produced lubricant, which can make intercourse very painful. Remember that your vagina is not meant to smell "fragrant"; in fact, if it does, you're probably in trouble. Incorporate a wholesome diet, lots of fluids, fruits and veggies, and exercise in your daily routine to stay healthy. That’s the only way you can take complete ‘internal care’.

Now, caring for the vulvar region isn't that complicated, either. Just keep in mind the following tips of intimate hygiene to feel fresh and clean all the time:

1) Do not use regular body soap to cleanse the vulva, as the skin in this region is different and much more sensitive than the skin in the rest of your body.

2) Use warm water that isn't too hot to cleanse the vulva. Rinse the area completely and pat dry with a soft dry towel.

3) While cleaning or drying, be gentle, lest you end up leaving the vulva without any moisture, or causing burning and irritation because of vigorous rubbing.

4) During periods, cleanse your vulvar region i.e. the external intimate areas outside the vagina properly and at frequent intervals, to avoid the pungent smell, as well as to remove all remnants of blood.

5) During periods, change your tampons/pads every 3-4 hours. It's also a good idea to shift to menstrual cups, though you must clean them properly after regular intervals also, but less frequently.

6) Wash your underwear regularly to avoid infections.

7) Avoid fitted clothing if you're going to be in the same outfit for several hours.

8) Use toilet seat disinfectants when you're using public toilets.

Finally, for cleansing of the vulva or the external part of vagina, you can opt for a natural, unperfumed, lab-tested vaginal cleanser like the Imbue Intimate Hygiene Foam.

Following these basic hygiene tips for taking care of your vulva and vagina will ensure that your intimate areas remain perfectly healthy.