As an important part of the woman's body, the vagina requires as much attention to hygiene as do other parts of the body to help maintain overall good health. Unfortunately, since the vagina is an embarrassing subject among many women, it is often neglected of basic care. Here is a simple guide to keeping the vagina at least relatively healthy. 1. Keep healthy: This may seem like a no brainer - keep healthy to keep a healthy vagina. For this you need to minimize sugar intake, and maximize yogurt intake. Why yogurt? The bacteria in your vagina is a certain type that is in only a couple of foods that you can find in the grocery store. It just so happens, though, that yogurt contains good bacteria called acidophilus. Sugar, meanwhile, promotes the type of bacteria that the yogurt bacterias, if you will, try to kill off. So, as said before, minimize sugar, and maximize yogurt, sugar-free preferably. 2. Keep yourself clean: A large cause of infections happen simply because sweat or oils build up until there was nothing for it to do except fester and form an infection. So bathe and shower regularly, and try and keep "down there" as clean as possible, without using a douche. Douches clean too much- they take away some of the bad bacteria, but then they also take away massive amounts of the good bacteria. Unfortunately, the bad bacterium builds itself up, and you're worse off than before. Douching can also lead to increased inflammation (vaginitis). A simple washcloth, with a small amount of mild unscented soap and water works fine, but do not wash inside. The vagina is constantly flushing itself. So allow it to work the way it was designed. 3. Use condoms! Condoms, while helping to protect you against pregnancy, also help keep your vagina clean. Having unprotected sex often can lead to vagina problems as well as the obvious pregnancy and STDs. 4. Use dental dams and gloves If you receive oral sex or are being fingered. 5. Wear cotton underwear: Cotton is very breathable and allows the vagina to get air circulating around it. This helps to keep things from building up "down there", and also helps maintain good skin around the vagina area. 6. Take out your old tampons: Leaving a tampon in your vagina too long, more than six hours, is a very bad idea. It can cause a toxic syndrome (TSS), as well as some very disgusting build up. Use smaller size and change sooner. Changing out pads often is also a good idea- leaving a pad on too long can cause serious irritation to the skin on and around the vagina like diaper rash! So keep the diaper rash at bay, and change your pad throughout the day. 7. Avoid sprays and scented soaps: Actually, try and avoid soaps "down there" as much as possible. They can get caught in the crevices of the vagina and fester. And you have an infection of the vagina in no time at all. Sprays and scented soaps, though, are more damaging, as they are designed to leave a bit behind- the scent, and you don't want anything left on the skin of your vagina at all. Soaps and bubble baths can also worsen vaginal dryness. 8. Visit your gynecologist regularly: Only your doctor can accurately diagnose any problems you may be having. If you do suspect anything at all, call and make an appointment as soon as you can. 9. Rinse Well: While showering or taking a bath, rinse your vagina with lots of water, especially if you use soap.