Basically, the perineal area refers to the region between your legs from your pubic bone to your anus. It is often one of the most overlooked areas of our body, unless you have a problem or you're having a baby. Unfortunately out of sight often means out of mind. As overweight and obese women we should be extra vigilant with what goes on down below.
One of the first steps to caring for your perineal region is hygiene. Air flow to this area is minimized because of extra surrounding tissue. The added weight also contributes to sweating which promotes bacteria and yeast formation. Washing everyday with a mild soap and water will discourage this.
Because of the increased sweating it's very important to change wet underwear as soon as you get the chance. Sitting in wet panties is an invitation for skin breakdown, irritation and bacterial/yeast growth. You may need to change them a few times a day if you're a heavy sweater.
These areas need a break from being moist. Instead of just using your blow dryer on your hair turn it down ward to your perineal area. Blow your hair dry, the skin along the pantie line, and between the skin fold up past your anus. If you are home you might also do this during the day between underwear changes.
To douche or not to douche? Your internal parts are already an instinctively protective and fine tuned apparatus. Flushing things out is more likely to stir up trouble by pushing foreign particles up higher where they can cause some damage. You can use these occasionally to flush your outer labia (skin folds) but don't stick anything inside to flush unless your doctor has given you a prescription and directions to do so.
Getting to Know Your Crotch
When was the last time you had a look down there? It's important to learn what is normal for you. We all have the basic parts but they don't all look the same. So take a mirror and have a look. If you still can't see what's going on then use your digital camera and take a digital photo so you can have a better look. Make sure you save them in a secure file and/or delete them when you are done.
Regardless of your experience with doctors it is important to have a yearly pap test and pelvic exam. You need to take responsibility for your care. If the doctor isn't appropriate tell him so and move on to the next one. You'll find one eventually that will suit your needs. What is important is not avoiding them all together. Be sure to ask questions during these visits. Is this normal? Should I be worried about this? If a general practitioner isn't giving you the answers you want then ask for a referral to a gynecologist.
Diligent perineal care will reduce the incidence of related problems, reduce the potential for odor and help you feel fresher. You owe it to yourself to take the extra time.