1. Though shall not douche

Douching gets rid of not only bad bacteria, but also the good. Studies done at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, found that vaginal douching exposes women to chemical phthalates (man-made chemicals), which could result in increased risks of vaginal infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, problems during pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. These were more prevalent in black women of reproductive age as they frequently use douches. To be safe, let’s all say it together: ‘Though shall not douche!”

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2. Shaving methods matter

Whether you shave or wax to have a landing strip, go Hollywood or just keep your bush – it’s up to you. But how you shave with razors can affect your vaginal health. Dr Tom Mokaya, a Sandton-based gynaecologist explains: “Those who use razors need to be aware of how they shave and shouldn’t do so a lot, as it may lead to keloids which are masses or bumps caused by cuts or skin irritations that can get septic and lead to infections.”

3. ‘Hell yeah’ to kegal exercises

Kegel exercises are an easy and healthy way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, and you can do them any time and anywhere. Dr Mokaya explains: “Pull your muscles as if trying to hold in pee and hold for at least 10 seconds at a time. Kegel exercises help tighten the pelvic foor muscle, especially after giving birth naturally.”

4. Cotton is boss

Circulating air to your lady parts is important, which is why the material of the underwear or gym tights you choose to wear must be breathable. “The pubis has hair follicles and needs air. Nylon is a de nite no, so even if you wear silk or lace underwear, make sure it has a cotton layer underneath. Tights or gym gear shouldn’t be too tight to allow for air to come in, because when you sweat, bacteria grows and gives off odour,” obstetrician Dr Karabo Tlale explains.

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5. Say no to tightening creams

Some women believe having a dry vagina means they’re tighter or makes intercourse more pleasurable for their partner. Dr Tlale says sex is meant to be pleasurable. “The vagina has to be wet, and for intercourse, you need good lubrication for it to be pleasurable. When you dry up the vagina, sex becomes painful and can lead to tears. Don’t use such creams, rather use something that will lubricate and stimulate you,” she says. There is not enough evidence on the effectiveness of tightening creams, says Dr Mokaya, who is against their use. “Tightening creams are very controversial. There hasn’t been much research done on them. Yes, they are on the market and claim to tighten the muscles as part of vaginal rejuvenation. But, I usually advise my patients not to put anything inside the vagina and to do kegal exercises instead.”