All we want to do is just relax after having sex. As inviting as that might be, there are certain hygiene essentials that should be taken care of first.
While caring for our health, we mainly worry about the functioning of organs like the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and more. To ensure they are doing well, we rush to have it checked out by medical professionals. But when it comes to the well-being of our sexual and reproductive organs, we often tend to overlook it. "In 2011-2015, nearly 3 in 10 teens (30% of female teens and 29% of male teens) had sexual intercourse at least once in the past three months," according to the CDC. 28.57% of women in their 40's and 50's were reported to be fully sexually active, while 57.14% were said to be partially sexually active, per a study published in the Indian Journal of Clinical Practice, that revealed how sexually active women in various age groups.
Irrespective of whether a woman is sexually active or not, it is imperative to know the dos and don'ts after indulging in intercourse. Moreover, with the upcoming bizarre vaginal trends, one cannot be sure which one's helpful and which ones not. So, here are a few habits (which might seem harmless) that could potentially have a negative impact on our bodies:
We aren't often mindful of the fact that germs are exchanged between us and our partners when their body parts penetrate our urethra and vagina. This may sound a little gross, but the germs then get a fertile ground to spread and fester, and could even lead to urinary tract infection (UTI). However, the risk could be prevented by peeing and measuring a healthy environment for our vagina. Wiping ourselves from the back to the front after peeing could also help keep harmful bacteria around the anus from transferring into our sensitive vagina. "Due to swelling and micro-abrasions that can occur during intercourse, your vulva and vaginal skin are particularly tender and prone to infection," says Leslie E. F. Page, a Kansas-based gynecologist to Women's Health Magazine.
Many have the habit of cleaning their genitalia promptly after having sex, which is good. But using soap or wet wipes to do is not recommended as the strong chemicals present in them could irritate our sensitive skin in the region and even trigger allergic reactions. One may even experience rashes in some cases. "When the vaginal tissues have been lubricated, swollen, and rubbed against during intercourse, it changes how that tissue reacts to the environment," says Page. "Primarily, you run a much greater risk of infection. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and needs to be treated very, very gently - if you wouldn't put it in your mouth, you shouldn't put it in or around your vagina."
She suggests making our own "wipe with warm water and vinegar." We could either use plain water or, "Mix one teaspoon of vinegar with a quart of water, pour some on to a washcloth and wipe your vulva over the toilet, and then pat dry. The vinegar is mildly cleansing and helps maintain the skin's natural acidity."
Vaginal douching is a common method used to wash the vagina using a mixture of water and vinegar to eliminate foul smells and "clean" the organ, according to WebMD. About 20% to 40% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 reportedly use vaginal douche, which is an unsafe practice. The act of douching puts us at high risk of contracting various infections like yeast infections as the "cleansing" disrupts the necessary balance of healthy bacteria (vaginal flora) and natural acidity of your vagina. Using this method could lead to more severe health conditions, which poses a higher risk of ovarian cancer, according to a study published in the journal Epidemiology, cited by NCBI.
As inviting and tempting a warm bath after intercourse sounds, it isn't the best idea. Speaking to Women's Health Magazine, Page said, "When your vulva swells in response to sexual stimulation, it reveals the opening of the vagina, which means you have a greater chance of infection." The stimulation is similar to the kind of warm bath that gives us. Furthermore, getting into a warm bath with our partner could increase the risk of infection from the shared bacteria, and "extensive water exposure reduces the efficiency of your skin’s antimicrobial barrier," she said.
If you start experiencing rashes, redness, or itching around your groin or vagina, visit a doctor promptly. They will be able to diagnose the problem and give you the appropriate treatment to cure your issues.