I feel like we’ve been here before, having a heart to heart moment about how your vagina is perfectly fine the way it is. Yet, for some reason, we need to keep stating what we thought was obvious: stop putting shit in your vagina.
Your vulva, labia, clitoris, and surrounding areas are smart. They can stretch to the size of a bagel. They are responsible for giving you orgasms. They are mysterious parts of our body that can unlock the secrets to our soul and push out a human being.
So, the need to make them smell like anything other than their natural scent has got to stop. ASAP.
It’s been a long tradition, I know. I mean, this shit started in the 1800s when a person with a penis thought a cleaning system for a vagina could prevent smells, pregnancy, and STIs.
Obviously he had no fucking idea. All douching did was cause problems, pregnancies, and infections.
After that, women started douching with Lysol.
Yes, I said Lysol.
So, the stage was set — if you had a vagina, you needed to keep the area clean and smelling like disinfectant. That shit sticks with us through generations, which is why you see pads, tampons, and douches infused with scents like baby powder and lavender.
This myth that your vag needs extra “cleaning” needs to be over, like, yesterday. The news is in, so let’s get past the bullshit. Put down the damn douche and walk away because, really, it does nothing for you except cause problems.
Here are the facts…douching isn’t healthy. It messes with your vagina’s Ph levels. Your vagina doesn’t need to smell like lavender or a flower bouquet. And you can actually do damage to your fine china if you are trying to scrub the vagina right off you.
Yes, the vagina has a distinct scent (no, it’s not supposed to be a fishy one so if you are getting a whiff of the sea between your legs, go see a doctor as soon as possible). It doesn’t need to be covered up, nor should you feel ashamed about the natural-occurring scent that comes from your undercarriage.
Scary Mommy spoke with Maria Sophocles, MD, OBGYN, Medical Director of Women’s Health Care at Princeton, who told us the dangers of douching are real. In fact, it can do just the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish when we rinse and repeat our love tunnel. “[Douching] can disrupt the normal vagina ecosystem which maintains a PH between 4.0 and 4.5,” she says.
That’s right, folks. The vagina is a self-sufficient ecosystem and we don’t need to mess with it. If we do, Sophocles says, “We alter the pH, causing harmful bacterial to grow more easily, causing vaginal infections like yeast and STIs.”
Other reasons to put the douche down and walk away, according to Women’s Health, is if you already have an infection. “Douching can push the bacteria causing the infection up into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.”
Douching can also make it more difficult to conceive and has been known to cause problems for pregnant women, including preterm birth and ectopic pregnancy.
All you need to do to keep your vagina healthy, according to Sophocles, is gently clean the outside of your vagina with water and “a gentle soap like Dove, Aveeno, or baby formula soap.”
There’s no need to put any elbow grease into it. You should never scrub the area, nor should you put soap inside the vagina. Keep your suds on the outside of your love buds, mmmK?
If you are still feeling the urge to catch a wave of freshness and do some spring cleaning down below, you should know your vagina works like a self-cleaning oven.
“Your vaginal cells slough off and mix with moisture which pass through the vaginal walls — also known as discharge — which is normal,” Sophocles explains. “Discharge should be white, clear, or yellowish. However, if it’s accompanied by itching or stronger, fish-like odor, see a doctor.”
You hear that? Discharge and odor are normal. Itching and a strong, fishy odor are not. A change in your vagina does not mean you need to squirt water, vinegar, or anything else up there.
The idea we need fancy things in our lower lips is harmful and unhealthy. Not to mention a waste of time. Skip the douche, and if your partner is asking for your lady bits to smell like a meadow all the damn time, skip them. Because if someone doesn’t understand how your precious pearl works, they have no business being down there.