Maintaining genital hygiene is of utmost importance in order to keep infections away. A good genital hygiene is vital for preventing diseases, promoting a healthy relationship with your partner, and for preventing malodour. Both men and women must practice good genital hygiene to keep themselves clean and free from disease causing germs like bacteria and fungus.
There are certain microbes which thrive on our skin and are called commensals. They are required for the normal functioning of the body. However, an excess accumulation of bacteria due to poor genital hygiene can pose serious health risks. Therefore it is very important to maintain good genital hygiene.
MALE GENITAL CARE
Male genital organs can be kept clean by doing the following:
- The genitals need to be washed daily. Men must use water and mild soap for washing their penis, scrotum, pubic hair, and anus. Men, who are not circumcised, need to clean their foreskin daily to prevent the accumulation of smegma (white thick collection of secretions) under the foreskin. The soap should ideally be chemical-free.
- Men must shake their penis lightly after urinating to expel the remaining drops of urine. A tissue should be used for wiping the area dry.
- Men also need to clean the base of the penis and the testicles to avoid sweat accumulation and offensive smell.
- After bowel movements, the anus must either be wiped with a tissue or washed with water. The movement of the hand while using the toilet paper should always be from front to the back.
- It is very important to wash your hands after using the restroom. This helps in keeping the hands free from germs.
- It is advisable to wear loose fitting cotton airy underwear or boxers and they should be changed every day.
FEMALE GENITAL CARE
Females an maintain genital hygiene by doing the following:
The genital organs include the vulva, pubic hair, and the anus. These need to be washed daily with a mild, chemical free soap and water.
- Women must keep their genitals dry. They must remember to use a toilet paper for drying their genitals after urinating.
- After bowel movements, the anus should be either washed or cleaned with a paper tissue. While using the paper tissue, the hand movement should always be from the front to the back.
- Women, like men, must remember to wash their hands after urinating or bowel movements to prevent infections.
- Women should avoid the use of douches unless prescribed by a physician. Indiscriminate use of douches can make the vagina more prone to bacterial infections and other eczema kind of infections.
- They should wear 100% cotton airy underwear and the use of nylon, acetate and other synthetic fibres should be avoided.
- During periods, it is important to wash the genitals at least twice. Women also need to change the sanitary napkins or tampons regularly specially during days of heavy flow. Prolonged tampon use can cause a dangerous condition called toxic shock syndrome.
- Women who prefer to remove their pubic hair need to be very careful as at times hair removal can lead to ingrowing hair and folliculitis.
Both men and women must change their clothes and preferably take bath after strenuous exercising sessions in order to maintain a good genital hygiene.