Should I wash my vulva?

Faut-il se laver la vulve ?
In collaboration with Lalottes, nurse

Relecture professionnelle

Intimate hygiene is a subject of concern for many women. Should you wash your vagina? Should you wash your vulva? But what's the difference between the two? Should you wash with water or soap? The menstrual panties reduce mycosis? We answer all your questions in this article.

What's the difference between a vulva and a vagina?

First of all, let's remind ourselves what a vagina is and what a vulva is. The vulva, often confusede with the vagina, is the part of the body that covers the external female genitalia. The vulva is made up of the labia majora and minora, the clitoris and the vestibule.
The vagina, unlike the vulva, is an internal genital organ. It is the muscular tube located at the level of the vulva, between the urethra and the anus, used during childbirth or penetration. On average, it is 8 cm deep. The vagina is connected to the uterus and cervix. Inside the vagina is the famous G-spot, said to be an erogenous zone.

Why is douching a bad idea?

Douching involves washing inside the vagina with soap and water: whether soap classic or products dedicated to intimate hygiene.
In the collective imagination, douching eliminates unpleasant odours and bacteria, and reduces white discharge. None of this is true. The vagina doesn't need to be washed; it washes itself. In fact, the vagina is made up of glands at the cervix, which release mucus to eliminate "waste". The vagina cleans itself !
The vagina is made up of bacteria essential to the proper functioning of the flora. More precisely, it is lined with a protective layer of micro-organisms, notably lactobacilli: the good bacteria that make up 60% of all bacteria.
They protect the vagina from external aggression, bad bacteria and and and fungi. This balance is both essential and very fragile. When the flora is unbalanced, we speak of vaginosis.
An unbalanced flora can lead to a proliferation of pathogenic germs, resulting in mycoses, vaginitis and infections. Most of the time, this translates into heavy, foul-smelling discharge, burning, itching and redness, of the vulva.

How to wash the vulva ?

It's important to distinguish between the vulva and the vagina, in order to provide the intimate hygiene required for each. For the vulva, washing with water or soap with a neutral, non-aggressive pH (preferably organic or natural to avoid endocrine disruptors) is more than sufficient. There's no need to over-scrub or over-wash.s (one a day maximum).
As for the vagina, as mentioned above, you don't need to clean it: it cleans itself.
Another tip: Essuyez vous de l'avant vers l'arrière, après la douche ou après être allé aux toilettes: cela évite que des bactéries situées dans les intestins viennent en contact avec votre vulve et potentiellement votre vagin, ce qui encore, pourrait provoquer un déséquilibre et donc des désagréments.

Does washing your vagina inside have a contraceptive effect?

Yet another belief that's totally false: washing the inside of your vagina will in no way use contraception to eliminate sperm. Only a contraceptive method such as the pill, IUD, patch, implant, etc. will be effective in preventing an unwanted pregnancy. And don't forget to use a condom, which is the only way to protect against STDs and STIs.

Are intimate gels and soaps a good idea?

There are plenty of intimate gels and soaps on the market. You can forget all about scented intimate wipes, which are stuffed full of perfumes and fragrances.efull ofs that upset the vaginal balance. The same goes for gels and soaps that are too aggressive and not PH-neutral: they should be avoided, as they will unbalance the vaginal flora.
In reality, all these products are marketing marketing" Yes, every woman has a natural vaginal odor, and that doesn't mean you're dirty!

Does intimate hygiene reduce heavy discharge? How do you deal with unpleasant odours and heavy discharge?

On the other hand, if your discharge smells worse than usual, or is malodorous, then it could be a sign of imbalance, infection or vaginitis. In this case, consult a health professional who will be able to guide you towards the right treatment.
Forget about douching! It will only make the problem worse!
After an infection or vaginitis, when vaginal flora is out of balance, it's important to rebalance it to prevent pathogenic germs from proliferating again.

How to rebalance your vaginal flora ?

A healthy lifestyle should be enough to maintain a good balance of vaginal flora. But sometimes it can be more complicated.. or taking antibiotics can upset the balance!
Here's some advice:

  • Pomply with organic cotton menstrual panties rather than panty, pads and tampons, which are full of chemicals, perfumes and disruptors for the balance of vaginal flora.
  • Uuse unscented, ph-neutral, mild, non-aggressive soaps.
  • Avoid antibiotics whenever possible, as many are responsible for an imbalance in vaginal flora (particularly in the case of urinary tract infections).
  • You can take probiotics (lactic ferments) to replenish the flora with good bacteria.

Don't hesitate to consult your doctor or healthcare professional, who will be able to guide you!
Remember : Intimate cleansing means washing the vulva only, gently, with a PH-neutral soap! Once a day is more than enough!
Wear clean, breathable organic cotton underwear to help your intimate area breathe!

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.