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Personal Care and Hygiene

Genital Care for Females

Juwitasari, S.Kep, Ns

Mata Kuliah
Woman Health
• Media as well as parents, girls are
under the impression that any smell or
discharge from their vagina is
abnormal. It is perfectly natural to
have a slight sweet smell that is non
• Vaginal discharge is a necessary part of
the body's regular functioning. Normal
discharge, usually clear to white, is
part of the body's self-cleaning
process. As discharge leaves the body,
it takes bacteria with it, which helps
keep vaginal infections at bay.
Discharge is also a natural lubricant,
which aids in sexual intercourse.
• Understanding
the normal
functions of the
genitals also
helps a person
feel more
comfortable with
her body and
stay healthy.
1. Bad odor
2. Itching or irritation
3. Thick, like soft cheese
4. Creamy or frothy
5. Strange color, such as
green, gray, or yellow
6. Bloody (not during
Washing the Genital Area
 It is important to regularly
wash the genital area,
including the anus, to help
ward off infections and bad
 Since the genital area is
moist and warm, bacteria
can grow easily.
 Cleaning the genital area
with a mild soap and water
on a regular basis will help
control the bacteria growth
and limit infections.
Vaginal Infections
• Vaginal infection, or vaginitis,
is most often caused by sexual
• However, poor personal
hygiene can put one at greater
risk of contracting a vaginal
or urinary tract infection.
• The following are some of the
most common vaginal and
urinary tract infections that
can be affected by poor
• Trichomoniasis, also referred to as
trich or TV, is an infection caused
by a protozoan called
Trichomonas vaginalis.
• The symptoms include a
discharge that is foul-smelling,
frothy, and greenish-yellow; it
causes severe itching, painful and
frequent urination, and,
sometimes, pain in the lower
• A yeast infection, or
candidiasis, occurs when
the yeast fungus called
Candida albicans, which is
normally found in the
vagina and anus, grows
above normal levels.
• The result is a thick, white,
cottage cheese-like
discharge with itching,
redness, and burning.
• Gardnerella is an another
bacterium that is normally found
in the vagina.
• An infection occurs when the
amount of gardnerella bacteria
increases, causing symptoms
such as a gray or yellow, fishy-
smelling, creamy discharge and
mild itching and burning.
• The smell may actually become
worse after washing since soap
reduces acidity and bacteria grow
better in a less acidic
• Urinary tract infections (UTI's) can
occur when bacteria from the anus or
vagina make their way into the
urethra and bladder.
• Urinating helps to flush some of the
bacteria from the urinary tract, but
sometimes the bacteria left behind
can cause an infection.
• Sexual intercourse, wiping from back
to front, or irritants used in a bath
(such as bubble bath or bath salts)
are common causes of UTI's. The
symptoms include painful and
frequent urination, burning on
urination, blood in the urine, and a
What to Wash ??
• The area that a girl should be
concerned with washing is the
external genital area. The internal
genitals have their own self-cleaning
• The anus, which is not considered part
of the vulva, should be washed as
well. It lies in back past the lip region.
• The external genitalia and the anus
can be washed using a wash cloth or
fingers. This can be done daily in a
shower or bath or standing near a
sink. Special care should be taken to
open the labias and wash between
them. Then rinse the area with water
and towel dry.
Be Sure to Wipe Properly
• Besides washing the external genital
area, it is important to wipe it with
toilet paper after urinating or having
a bowel movement. Solid body waste
expelled by the anus contains
bacteria that can cause vaginal and
urinary tract infections.
• Therefore, the proper wiping
method is from the front to back.
This is so the bacteria from the anal
area do not make their way to the
vaginal and urethral area. A person
should always wash her hands after
going to the bathroom.
Extra Care During Menstruation
 While menstruation can be
messy, it is easily controlled with
a tampon or pad. However, once
the blood is exposed to the air, it
can produce an odor. A strong
odor should not occur unless the
person does not bathe often
 To minimize odor and staining of
clothes, washing the genital area
at least once a day is
recommended. It is also
recommended to change a
tampon every four to six hours (a
pad every two to four hours),
which will help control the odor
and the collection of blood.
• These products include
tampons and pads. Choosing
the kind of protection to use is
a personal choice.
• Some women use only pads,
some use tampons during the
day and pads at night, and
others use solely tampons.
• Pantiliners, small pads, are
also available for light flows,
discharge, or use with a
• Tampons are worn inside the vagina
• Tampons cannot get lost inside the body or be
pushed up into the uterus (the canal—called
the cervical canal—to the uterus is too small
for a tampon to fit through).
• They are made of absorbent cotton that is
either scented or unscented and have a string
attached for easy removal
• Tampons are meant to be used only for
menstrual flow, not vaginal discharge. They can
come with or without applicators. For greater
protection, some women wear
• pantiliners when they use tampons. Tampons
should be changed every four to six hours, and
not worn more than eight hours. Otherwise,
bacteria can build up in the vagina, which can
cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
• Pads are worn outside the body.
• Pads today have adhesive strips
that allow a woman to attach a pad
to her underwear. Today's pads are
also more absorbent, allowing
them to be thinner and more
• Some even have wings that wrap
around the crotch of underwear,
which gives greater protection.
Pads can be unscented or
deodorant. The deodorant can
cause irritation in some women;
however, many like the deodorant
products, believing they help mask
• Douches and feminine
hygiene sprays are products
that work to mask or limit
odor or wetness. Douches
are sometimes used in the
treatment of certain vaginal
infections. They are liquid
solutions that are squeezed
into the vagina. A common
solution is vinegar and water
Be Aware of What to Wear
and Other Precautions
• A girl should wear cotton underwear or at least
ones with a cotton crotch. Underwear should be
changed daily and after it becomes soiled or wet. It
should also be absorbent and well ventilated.
• Tight or nylon underwear, tight pants, or pantyhose
(most are available with cotton crotches that help
increase ventilation) cause greater perspiration,
which can allow bacteria to grow.
• Sitting around in a wet bathing suit will also
contribute to bacteria growth.
• Towels should not be shared because they can pass
along bacteria.
• Toilet seats are also breeding grounds for bacteria.
It is wise to cover public toilet seats with toilet
paper before sitting down.
• Taking these precautions can help lower the risk of
infection and keep the genitals healthy.