Is it me or is bacterial vaginosis (BV) becoming more and more common these days? Every other girlfriend of mine claims they've suffered from it more than one time. In case you didn't know, BV isn't like a yeast infection. It's a lot more serious than just some abnormal vaginal discharge. Aside from irritation and odor, BV can also put women at risk for developing dangerous health conditions like pre-term delivery, post-hysterectomy infection, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can eventually lead to infertility, and more. So what exactly is causing this sudden increase in BV? Well it might just have a lot to do with how you're cleaning your vagina!

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In fact, according to recent studies researchers have found that women who douche or use feminine cleansers regularly experience more vaginal irritations and infections, like bacterial vaginosis. This is why any OB-GYN you speak to highly discourages you from washing with those sorts of products. The problem is the chemicals in these vagina cleansers, douches or sprays effects your vaginal pH. Too much bad bacteria can lead to BV, something you can easily avoid with the proper cleansing method. So how exactly are we supposed to be washing our lady parts?

Here's a quick and simple guide on how you should be washing your vagina! And remember a clean and infection-free vagina is vital for your reproductive health!

Keep it simple: Soaps that include heavy perfumes and scents can easily irritate your vagina and mess with your vaginal pH, reducing its acidity and making you more vulnerable to bacterial infections. Instead, wash up with some water and a mild, natural soap that's hypoallergenic and fragrance free, like Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar ($4).

Wash properly: Part of the reason why douching is so dangerous is because the product goes directly inside the vagina. Whenever you're washing down there, you want to make sure that you're washing mainly around the eternal areas. Like around the labia and the skin on both sides of your clitoris. That's it!

Wash when needed: You should be washing your vagina at least twice a day. Think about how often you shower. Most women shower at least once in the morning and once at night, meaning you should be washing down there during those times at well. But keep in mind if you're having sex, you might want to wash afterwards too!

Wash especially during your period: Apparently a lot of women who suffer from recurrent BV infections get it as a result of their menstrual cycle. How weird is that? Apparently your period causes a pH elevation that can lead someone to experience a slight imbalance that causes infections. So make sure you're being extra careful about your hygiene during that time. You can even carry baby wipes with you to work if you'd like, just make sure that they're unscented and hypoallergenic.

Wash your behind last: The same way they tell you to wipe from front to back is the same way you should be washing down there. Make sure you wash your vagina first THEN your anus. And avoid touching your vagina after you wash your anus because if the bacteria from your anus area makes its way to your vagina you can easily get a UTI or bacterial infection. Trust me--you don't want that!

Image via Thinkstock

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About the author

Johanna is the beauty and fashion staff writer at MamásLatinas and obsessed with all things beauty and fashion. She is a proud Dominicana and was born and raised in Queens, NY.

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