At some point in every girl’s life, you experience one of the most annoying marks of puberty and growing up your body can give you: vaginal discharge. One magical day, you’ll feel something wet in your underwear, you’ll think maybe it’s your period, you’ll check it out, and you’ll see it’s… definitely not your period. Since most sexual education classes don’t touch on discharge, you’ll probably freak out and wonder what’s happening to you, look it up, and immediately start wondering how to prevent it from happening ever again.
As we’ve said before, vaginal discharge is completely normal. It’s an every day occurrence for women, all women, whether they want to admit it or not (don’t believe those ridiculous clean panty challenges on Twitter). It’s just your vagina’s way of, I don’t know, being a healthy vagina. If it doesn’t have a strong smell and it isn’t really strange looking (check out our guide to make sure it’s normal), you don’t need to stress over it. And yet, you probably still will. Discharge is frustrating.
Here’s the truth: you can never 100 percent prevent discharge. Sorry. It’s necessary and it will happen no matter what. But you can prevent, like, a lot of discharge. Or you can try to, at least. Every woman’s body is different and these things won’t work for all of you. Even if they don’t do what you wanted, though, they will help keep your vagina healthy and happy, so it’s worth a shot! Here are a few tips on preventing vaginal discharge you should know about:
Wear Cotton UnderwearSilk and lace underwear might feel nice and look sexy, but unfortunately, they can be breeding grounds for the kind of bacteria that can lead to extra discharge. On top of that, materials like silk are often heavier than cotton and can lead to more sweating, which can contribute to discharge. You're best off wearing cotton underwear - it's breathable and the healthiest fabric for your vagina. Source: iStock
Don't Wear ThongsThongs are convenient because they leave you without panty lines and they don't leave you with an uncomfortable bunching feeling when wearing pants. Unfortunately, they're not great for your whole area down there. The way the underwear is positioned makes it really easy for stuff from your butt to get into your vaginal area... and that can quickly lead to an infection or just a lot of extra discharge. Source: iStock
Go Commando Whenever PossibleYou know what? Underwear in general is just not great for your vagina. So, go commando whenever possible. Your vag needs to breathe! When it's able to breathe and be ~free~ it's healthier. That doesn't necessarily mean LESS discharge, but it does mean you're less likely to get infections that can lead to MORE discharge. I definitely recommend sleeping without underwear, since you really don't need it then. Source: iStock
Stop Washing With Scented ProductsIf you're familiar with Gurl.com, then you should already know that scented products are the worst for your vagina. They can upset your pH balance and lead to infections and extra discharge. Stop washing your vag with this stuff! Avoid it at all costs. Source: iStock
Change Right After Working OutIf you work out or play a sport, you should make sure to change your pants and underwear as soon as you're done. You'll be sweating a lot down there, making a perfect breeding ground for bacteria that leads to infections and more discharge. If you don't have time to shower, then at least change out of your sweaty clothes and underwear. Source: iStock
Practice Daily Hygiene!Being clean is always important, especially when it comes to vaginal discharge. Change your underwear a lot - if you experience a lot of discharge, you might want to change your underwear during the day. Make sure you wash underwear after each use. Shower daily and wash down there with just warm water. All of this leads to a healthy environment down there. Source: iStock
Stop Wearing Panty Liners So OftenA lot of girls who experience a lot of discharge begin to wear pads or panty liners so they don't stain their underwear. This isn't ideal. I mean, yeah, it works, and it's fine to do once in a while... but if you're wearing them every single day, all day, you need to cut back. This extra layer of stuff in your underwear can actually lead to more discharge. Source: iStock
Stop ObsessingOkay, real talk: all of the stuff I just discussed can help prevent extra discharge and will make for a healthier vagina. But it is not going to prevent discharge completely. Nothing will! Not even those weird all-natural things on Pinterest! Vaginal discharge is totally normal and completely necessary. You need to have it! So, please don't obsess over it. Doing so is causing unnecessary stress and it's just really not worth your time. Source: iStock